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En literature ani 3rt. 





<i£t , ALEXANDER C . Ei 


By THOMAS WRIGHT, Esq^, M.A., F.S.A., 

Hon. M.R.S.L., &c. ; 

Correfponding Member of the Imperial Jnfutute of France 
{^Aeade'm'ie del Infcripliom et Belles Lettres), 




F. W. FAIR HOLT, Esq., F.S.A. 

Uonfcon : 




T HAVE felt fome difficulty in feledting a title for 
7- the contents of the following pages, in which it 
was, in fact, my defign to give, as far as may be done 
within fuch moderate limits, and in as popular a manner 
as fuch information can eafily be imparted, a general 
view of the Hiftory of Comic Literature and Art. Yet 
the word comic feems to me hardly to exprefs all the 
parts of the fubjecl: which I have fought to bring 
together in my book. Moreover, the field of this 
hiftory is very large, and, though I have only taken as 
my theme one part of it, it was neceffary to circum- 
fcribe even that, in fome degree ; and my plan, there- 
fore, is to follow it chiefly through thofe branches 
which have contributed moft towards the formation 
of modern comic and fatiric literature and art in our 
own ifland, 


Thus, as the comic literature of the middle ages to 
a very great extent, and comic art in a confiderable 
degree alfo, were founded upon, or rather arofe out of, 
thofe of the Romans which had preceded them, it 
feemed defirable to give a comprehenfive hiftory of 
this branch of literature and art as it was cultivated 
among the peoples of antiquity. Literature and art in 
the middle ages prefented a certain unity of general 
character, ariiing, probably, from the uniformity of the 
influence of the Roman element of fociety, modified 
only by its lower degree of intenfity at a greater diftance 
from the centre, and by fecondary caufes attendant upon 
it. To underftand the literature of any one country 
in Weftern Europe, efpecially during what we may 
term the feudal period — and the remark applies to art 
equally— it is neceffary to make ourfelves acquainted 
with the whole hiftory of literature in Weftern 
Europe during that time. The peculiarities in dif- 
ferent countries naturally became more marked in the 
progrefs of fociety, and more ftrongly individualifed ; 
but it was not till towards the clofe of the feudal period 
that the literature of each of thefe different countries 
was becoming more entirely its own. At that period 
the plan I have formed reftricts itfelf, according to the 


view ftated above. Thus, the fatirical literature of the 
Reformation and pictorial caricature had their cradle 
in Germany, and, in the earlier half of the fixteenth 
century, carried their influence largely into France and 
England ; but from that time any influence of German 
literature on thefe two countries ceafes. Modern 
fatirical literature has its models in France during 
the fixteenth century, and the direct influence of this 
literature in France upon Englifh literature continued 
during that and the fucceeding century, but no further. 
Political caricature rofe to importance in France in the 
fixteenth century, and was tranfpianted to Holland in 
the feventeenth century, and until the beginning of 
the eighteenth century England owed its caricature, 
indirectly or directly, to the French and the Dutch ; 
but after that time a purely Englifh fchool of cari- 
cature was formed, which was entirely independent of 
Continental caricatu rifts. 

There are two fenfes in which the "word hiftory 
may be taken in regard to literature and art. It has 
been ufually employed to fignify a chronological account 
of authors or artifts and their works, though this comes 
more properly under the title of biography and biblio- 
graphy. But there is another and a very different 


application of the word, and this is the meaning which 
I attach to it in the prefent volume. During the middle 
ages, and for fome period after (in fpecial branches), 
literature — I mean poetry, fatire, and popular literature 
of all kinds — belonged to fociety, and not to the 
individual authors, who were but workmen who gained 
a living by fatisfying fociety's wants ; and its changes 
in form or character depended all upon the varying 
progrefs, and therefore changing neceffities, of fociety 
itfelf. This is the reafon why, efpecially in the earlier 
periods, nearly the whole mafs of the popular — I may, 
perhaps, be allowed to call it the focial literature of the 
middle ages, is anonymous; and it was only at rare 
intervals that fome individual rofe and made himfelf a 
great name by the fuperiority of his talents. A certain 
number of writers of fabliaux put their names to their 
compofitions, probably becaufe they were names of 
writers who had gained the reputation of telling better 
or racier ftories than many of their fellows. In fome 
branches of literature — as in the fatirical literature of the 
fixteenth century — fociety ftill exercifed this kind of 
influence over it; and although its great monuments 
owe everything to the peculiar genius of their authors, 
they were produced under the prefTure of focial cir- 


cumftances. To trace all thefe variations in literature 
connected with fociety, to defcribe the influences of 
fociety upon literature and of literature upon fociety, 
during the progrefs of the latter, appears to me to be 
the true meaning of the word hiftory, and it is in this 
fenfe that I take it. 

This will explain why my hiftory of the different 
branches of popular literature and art ends at very 
different periods. The grotefque and fatirical fculpture, 
which adorned the ecclefiaftical buildings, ceafed with 
the middle ages. The ftory-books, as a part of this 
focial literature, came down to the fixteenth century, 
and the hiftory of the j eft-books which arofe out of 
them cannot be confidered to extend further than the 
beginning of the feventeenth ; for, to give a lift of jeft- 
books fince that time would be to compile a catalogue 
of books made by bookfellers for fale, copied from 
one another, and, till recently, each more contemptible 
than its predeceflbr. The fchool of fatirical literature 
in France, at all events as far as it had any influence in 
England, lafted no longer than the earlier part of the 
feventeenth century. England can hardly be faid to 
have had a fchool of fatirical literature, with the ex- 
ception of its comedy, which belongs properly to the 

^ feventeenth 

feventeenth century; and its caricature belongs efpecially 
to the laft century and to the earlier part of the prefent, 
beyond which it is not a part of my plan to carry it. 

Thefe few remarks will perhaps ferve to explain 
what fome may confider to be defects in my book ; 
and with them I venture to truft it to the indulgence 
of its readers. It is a fubject which will have fome 
novelty for the Englifh reader, for I am not aware that 
we have any previous book devoted to it. At all 
events, it is not a mere compilation from other people's 

In conclufion, I ought, perhaps, to ftate that the 
chapters on the Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque in 
Art were iirft printed in the Art-Journal during the 
two paft years, but they only form a portion of the 
prefent volume, and they have been confiderably 
modified and enlarged. 

Thomas Wright. 

Sydney Street, Brompton, 
Dec. 1864. 



EGYPT — monsters: python and gorgon — Greece — the dio- 








xii Contents, 



























xiv Contents. 




























xvi Contents. 






FACE 450 















IT is not my intention in the following pages to difcius the queflion 
what conftitutes the comic or the laughable, or, in other words, to 
enter into the philofophy of the fubject ; I defign only to trace the hiftory 
of its outward development, the various forms it has affumed, and its 
focial influence. Laughter appears to be almoft a neceffity of human 
nature, in all conditions of man's exiflence, however rude or however cul- 
tivated ; and fome of the greateft men of all ages, men of the moil refined 
intellects, fuch as Cicero in the ages of antiquity, and Erafmus among 
the moderns, have been celebrated for their indulgence in it. The former 
was fometimes called by his opponents fcurra confularis, the "confular 
jefter j" and the latter, who has been fpoken of as the "mocking-bird," is 
faid to have laughed fo immoderately over the well-known "Epiftolae 
Obfcurorum Virorum," that he brought upon himfelf a ferious fit of 
illnefs. The greateft of comic writers, Ariftophanes, has always been looked 
upon as a model of literary peifection. An epigram in the Greek Antho- 

b logy, 

Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

logy, written by the divine Plato, tells us how, when the Graces fought 
a temple which would not fall, they found the foul of Ariftophanes : — 

A\ xdpLTeq rsfievog ti Xafitiv orrtp oi>x' TrecreXTai 
7jt]Tovaai, tywxfiv evpov 'Apiarocpavovg. 

On the other hand, the men who never laughed, the dyeXacrroi, were 
looked upon as the leaf! refpectable of mortals. 

A tendency to burlefque and caricature appears, indeed, to be a feeling 
deeply implanted in human nature, and it is one of the earliefl talents 
difplayed by people in a rude ftate of fociety. An appreciation of, and 
fenfitivenefs to, ridicule, and a love of that which is humorous, are found 
even among favages, and enter largely into their relations with their 
fellow men. When, before people cultivated either literature or art, 
the chieftain fat in his rude hall furrounded by his warriors, they amufed 
themfelves by turning their enemies and opponents into mockery, by 
laughing at their weakneffes, joking on their defects, whether phyfical or 
mental, and giving them nicknames in accordance therewith, — in fa6t, 
caricaturing them in words, or by telling ftcries which were calculated to 
excite laughter. When the agricultural flaves (for the tillers of the land 
were then flaves) were indulged with a day of relief from their labours, 
they fpent it in unreftrained mirth. And when thefe fame people began 
to ere6t permanent buildings, and to ornament them, the favourite fub- 
je6ts of their ornamentation were fuch as prefented ludicrous ideas. The 
warrior, too, who caricatured his enemy in his fpeeches over the feftive 
board, foon fought to give a more permanent form to his ridicule, which 
he endeavoured to do by rude delineations on the bare rock, or on any 
other convenient furface which prefented itfelf to his hand. Thus 
originated caricature and the grotefque in art. In fad, art itfelf, in its 
earliefl forms, is caricature ; for it is only by that exaggeration of features 
which belongs to caricature, that unikilful draughtfmen could make 
themfelves underftood. 

Although we might, perhaps, find in different countries examples of 
thefe principles in different flates of development, we cannot in any one 
country trace the entire courfe of the development itfelf: for in all the highly 


in Literature and Art, 

civilifed races of mankind, we firft become acquainted with their hiftory 
when they had already reached a considerable degree of refinement 5 and 
even at that period of their progrefs, our knowledge is almoil confined to 
their religious, and to their more feverely hiftorical, monuments. Such 
is efpecially the cafe with Egypt, the hifiory of which country, as repre- 
fented by its monuments of art, carries us back to the remotefl ages of 
antiquity. Egyptian art generally prefents itfelf in a fombre and maflive 
character, with little of gaiety or joviality in its defigns or forms. Yet, as 
Sir Gardner Wilkinfon has remarked in his valuable work on the 
"Manners and Cufloms of the Ancient Egyptians," the early Egyptian 
artifls cannot always conceal their natural tendency to the humorous, 
which creeps out in a variety of little incidents. Thus, in a feries of 
grave hiftorical pictures on one of the great monuments at Thebes, we 
find a reprefentation of a wine party, where the company confifts of both 
iexes, and which evidently fhows that the ladies were not reftricl:ed in the 

A n Egyptian Lady at a Feafi, 

ufe of the juice of the grape in their entertainments; and, as he adds, "the 
painters, in illuftrating this fad, have fometimes facrificed their gallantry 
to a love of caricature." Among the females, evidently of rank, repre- 
fented in this fcene, " fome call the fervants to fupport them as they fit, 
others with difficulty prevent themfelves from falling on thofe behind 


Hifiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

them, and the faded flower, which is ready to drop from their heated 
hands, is intended to be chara6teriftic of their own fenfations." One 
group, a lady whofe excefs has been carried too far, and her fervant who 
comes to her affiftance, is reprefented in our cut No. I. Sir Gardner 
obferves that " many fimilar inilances of a talent for caricature are 
obfervable in the compositions of the Egyptian artilis, who executed the 
paintings of the tombs " at Thebes, which belong to a very early period 
of the Egyptian annals. Nor is the application of this talent reilricted 
always to fecular fubjects, but we fee it at times intruding into the moft 
facred myfteries of their religion. I give as a curious example, taken from 
one of Sir Gardner Wilkinfon's engravings, a fcene in the reprefentation 
of a funeral proceffion crofling the Lake of the Dead (No. 2), that 

No. 2. Cataflrophe in a Funeral Procefiii 

appears in one of theie early paintings at Thebes, in which " the love of 
caricature common to the Egyptians is fhown to have been indulged 
even in this ferious fubjedlj and the retrograde movement of the large 
boat, which has grounded and is pufhed off the bank, ftriking the fmaller 
one with its rudder, has overturned a large table loaded with cakes and 
other things, upon the rowers feated below, in fpite of all the efforts of 
the prowman, and the earnefl vociferations of the alarmed fteerfman."' 
The accident which thus overthrows and fcatters the provifions intended 
for the funeral feafl, and the confuflon attendant upon it, form a ludicrous 


in Literature and Art, 

fcene in the midft of a folemn picture, that would be worthy of the 
imagination of a Rowlandfon. 

Another cut (No. 3), taken from one of the fame feries of paintings, 
belongs to a clafs of caricatures which dates from a very remote period. 
One of the molt, natural ideas among all people would be to compare 
men with the animals whofe 'articular qualities they poiTetied. Thus, 
one might be as bold as a lior, another ~s faithful as a dog, or as cunning 
as a fox, or as fwinim as a hog. The, dame of the animal would thus 
often be given as a nickname to the Fjan, and in the fequel he would be 
reprefented pi6torially under the form of the animal. It was partly out 
of this kind of caricature, no doubt, that the lingular clafs of apologues 
which have been fince diftinguifhed by the name of fables arofe. 
Connected with it was the belief in the metempfychofis, or tranfmiifion 
of the foul into the bodies of animals after death, which formed a part of 
feveral of the primitive religions. The earheft examples of this clafs 

bio 3. A.n Unfortunate Soul. 

of caricature of mankind are found on the Egyptian monuments, as 
in the inftance juft referred to, which reprefents " a foul condemned to 
return to earth under the form of a pig, having been weighed in the 
fcales before Ofiris and been found wanting. Being placed in a boat, 
and accompanied by two monkeys, it is difmiffed the facred precinct." 
The latter animals, it may be remarked, as they are here reprefented, are 
the cynocephali, or dog-headed monkeys (the Jimia inuus), which were 
facred animals among the Egyptians, and the peculiar charafteriftic of 
which — the dog-ihaped head — is, as ufual, exaggerated by the artift. 
The reprefentation of this return of a condemned foul under the 


Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

repulfive form of a pig, is painted on the left fide wall of the long 
entrance-gallery to the tomb of King Ramefes V., in the valley of royal 
catacombs known as the Biban-el-Molook, at Thebes. Wilkinfon gives 
the date of the acceffion of this monarch to the throne as 1185, B.C. 
In the original picture, Ofiris is feated on his throne at fome diftance from 
the ftern of the boat, and is difmiffing it from his prefence by a wave 
of the hand. This tomb was open in the time of the Romans, and 
termed by them the " Tomb of Memnon $" it was greatly admired, and 
is covered with laudatory infcriptions by Greek and Roman vifitors. One 
of the moft interefling is placed beneath this picture, recording the name 
of a daduchus, or torch-bearer in the Eleufinian myfteries, who vifited this 
tomb in the reign of Conflantine. 

The practice having been once introduced of reprefenting men under 
the character of animals, was foon developed into other applications 

The Cat and the Geefe. 

of the fame idea — fuch as that of figuring animals employed in the 
various occupations of mankind, and that of reverfing the pofition of man 
and the inferior animals, and reprefenting the latter as treating their 


in Literature and Art. 

human tyrant in the fame manner as they are ufually treated by him. 
The latter idea became a very favourite one at a later period, but the 
other is met with not unfrequently among the works of art which have 
been faved from the wrecks of antiquity. Among the treafures of the 
Britifh Mufeum, there is a long Egyptian pi&ure on papyrus, originally 
forming a roll, confifting of reprefentations of this defcription, from which 
I give three curious examples. The nrft (fee cut No. 4) reprefents a cat 
in charge of a drove of geefe. It will be obferved that the cat holds in 
her hand the fame fort of rod, with a hook at the end, with which the 

No. 5. The Fox turned Piper. 

monkeys are furnifhed in the preceding picture. The fecond (No. 5) 
reprefents a fox carrying a bafket by means of a pole fupported oh his 
moulder (a method of carrying burthens frequently reprefented on the 
monuments of ancient art), and playing on the well-known double flute, 
or pipe. The fox foon became a favourite perfonage in this clafs of 
caricatures, and we know what a prominent part he afterwards played in 
mediaeval fatire. Perhaps, however, the moft popular of all animals in 
this clafs of drolleries was the monkey, which appears natural enough 


Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

when we coniider its Angular aptitude to mimic the actions of man. 
The ancient naturalifls tell us fome curious, though not very credible, 
ftories of the manner in which this characteriflic of the monkey tribes was 
taken advantage of to entrap them, and Pliny (Hift. ]\a L ., lib. viii. c. 80) 
quotes an older writer, who afferted that they had even been taught 
to play at draughts. Our third fubject from the Egyptian papyrus of the 
Britifh Mufeum (No. 6) reprefents a fcene in which the game of draughts 
— or, more properly fpeaking, the game which the Romans called the 

No. 6. The Lion and the Unicorn 

ludus latrunculorum, and which is believed to have refembled our draughts 
— is played by two animals well known to modem heraldry, the lion and 
the unicorn. The lion has evidently gained the victory, and is fingering 
the money; and his bold air of fwaggering fuperiority, as well as the look 
of furprife and difappointment of his vanquifhed opponent, are by no 
means ill pictured. This feries of caricatures, though Egyptian, belongs 
to the Roman period. 

The monftrous is clofely allied to the grotefque, and both come within 
the province of caricature, when we take this term in its wideft fenfe. 


in Literature and Art. 


The Greeks, efpecially, were partial to reprefentations of moniters, and 
monftrous forms are continually met with among their ornaments and works 
of art. The type of the Egyptian monfler is reprefented in the accompany- 
ing cut (No. 7), taken from the work of Sir Gardner Wilkinibn before 
quoted, and is faid to be the figure of the god Typhon. It occurs frequently 
on Egyptian monuments, with fome variation in its forms, but always 

No. 7, Typkon. 

characterifed by the broad, coarfe, and frightful face, and by the large 
tongue lolling out. It is interesting to us, becaufe it is the apparent 
origin of a long feries of faces, or malks, of this form and character, which 
are continually recurring in the grotefque ornamentation, not only of the 
Greeks and Romans, but of the middle ages. It appears to have been 
fometimes given by the Romans to the reprefentations of people whom 
they hated or defpifed ; and Pliny, in a curious paffage of his " Natural 

c Hiftorv," 

I o Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

History,"* informs us that at one time, among the pictures exhibited in 
the Forum at Rome, there was one in which a Gaul was reprefented, 
" thrufting out his tongue in a very unbecoming manner." The Egyptian 
Typhons had their exa6t reprefentations in ancient Greece in a figure of 
frequent occurrence, to which antiquaries have, 1 know not why, given 
the name of Gorgon. The example in our cut No. 8, is a figure in terra- 
cotta, now in the colledion of the Royal Mufeum at Berlin, f 

No. 8. Gorgon. 

In Greece, however, the fpirit of caricature and buriefque repre- 
fentation had affumed a more regular form than in other countries, for it 
was inherent in the fpirit of Grecian fociety. Among the population of 
Greece, the worship of Dionyfus, or Bacchus, had taken deep root from 

* Plin. Hist. Nat., lib. xxxv. c. 8. 

f Panofka Terracotten des Museums Berlin, pi. lxi. p. 154. 

in Literature and Art. 


a very early period — earlier than we can trace back — and it formed the 
nucleus of the popular religion and fuperftitions, the cradle of poetry and 
the drama. The moll popular celebrations of the people of Greece, were 
the Dionyliac feltivals, and the phallic rites and proceffions which accom- 
panied them, in which the chief actors afTumed the difguife of fatyrs and 
fawns, covering themfelves with goat-lkins, and disfiguring their faces by 
rubbing them over with the lees of wine. Thus, in the guife of noify 
bacchanals, they difplayed an unreflrained licentioufnefs of gefture and 
language, uttering indecent jells and abulive fpeeches, in which they 
fpared nobody. This portion of the ceremony was the efpecial attribute 
of a part of the performers, who accompanied the procellion in waggons, 
and acted fomething like dramatic performances, in which they uttered an 
abundance of loofe extempore fatire on thofe who pafTed or who accom 
panied the proceffion, a little in the liyle of the modern carnivals. It be 
came thus the occalion for an unreflrained publication of coarfe pafquinades. 
In the time of Pifiltratus, thefe performances are afTumed to have been 
reduced to a little more order by an individual named Thefpis, who is 
faid to have invented malks as a better difguife than dirty faces, and is 
looked upon as the father of the Grecian drama. There can be no 
doubt, indeed, that the drama arofe out of thefe popular ceremonies, and 
it long bore the unmiltakable marks of its origin. Even the name of 
tragedy has nothing tragic in its derivation, for it is formed from the 
Greek word tragos (rpayog), a goat, in the fkins of which animal the. 
fatyrs clothed themfelves, and hence the name was given alfo to thofe who 
perfonated the fatyrs in the proceffions. A tragodus (rpay^bg) was the 
linger, whofe words accompanied the movements of a chorus of fatyrs, 
and the term tragodia was applied to his performance. In the fame 
manner, a comodus (/cco/zw^oe) was one who accompanied limilarly, with 
chants of an abulive or fatirical character, a comus (Kufioo), or band of 
revellers, in the more riotous and licentious portion of the performances 
in the Bacchic feltivals. The Greek drama always betrayed its origin by 
the circumllance that the performances took place annually, only at the 
yearly fellivals in honour of Bacchus, of which in fact they conltituted 
a part. Moreover, as the Greek drama became perfected, it Hill retained 

from its origin a triple divifion, into tragedy, comedy, and the fatiric 
drama ; and, being Hill performed at the Dionyiiac feflival in Athens, 
each dramatic author was expected to produce what was called a trilogy, 
that is, a tragedy, a fatirical play, and a comedy. So completely was all 
this identified in the popular mind with the worlhip of Bacchus, that, 
long afterwards, when even a tragedy did not pleafe the audience 
by its fubject, the common form of difapproval was, ri ravra irpbg tqv 
Awvvaov — "What has this to do with Bacchus?" and, ovdh irpbg tov 
Aiovvaov — " This has nothing to do with Bacchus." 

We have no perfect remains of the Greek fatiric drama, which was, 
perhaps, of a temporary character, and lefs frequently preferved -, but the 
early Greek comedy is preferved in a certain number of the plays of 
Ariftophanes, in which we can contemplate it in all its freedom of 
character. It reprefented the waggon-jemng, of the age of Thefpis, 
in its full development. In its form it was burlefque to a wanton degree 
of extravagance, and its effence was perfonal vilification, as well as general 
fatire. Individuals were not on«y attacked by the application to them of 
abufive epithets, but they were reprefented perfonally on the ftage as 
performing every kind of contemptible action, and as fuffering all forts of 
ludicrous and difgraceful treatment. The drama thus bore marks of 
its origin in its extraordinary licentioufnefs of language and coftume, and 
in the conftant ufe of the malk. One of its moll favourite innruments 
of fatire was parody, which was employed unfparingly on everything 
which fociety in its folemn moments refpected — againft everything that 
the fatirifl confldered worthy of being held up to public derifion or fcorn. 
Religion itfelf, philofophy, focial manners and inftitutions — even poetry — 
were all parodied in their turn. The comedies of Ariffophanes are full 
of parodies on the poetry of the tragic and other writers of his age. He 
is efpecially happy in parodying the poetry of the tragic dramatift 
Euripides. The old comedy of Greece has thus been correctly defcribed 
as the comedy of caricature ; and the fpirit, and even the fcenes, of this 
comedy, being transferred to pictorial reprefentations, became entirely 
identical with that branch of art to which we give the name of caricature 
in modern times. Under the cover of bacchanalian buffoonery, a ferious 


in Literature and Art. 


purpofe, it is true, was aimed at ; but the general fatire was chiefly 
implied in the violent perfonal attacks on individuals, and this became fo 
offeniive that when fuch perfons obtained greater power in Athens than 
the populace the old comedy was abolifhed. 

Ariftophanes was the greater! and moft perfect poet of the Old 
Comedy, and his remaining comedies are as ftrongly marked reprefenta- 
tions of the hoftility of political and focial parties in his time, as the 
caricatures of Gillray are of party in the reign of our George III., and, we 
may add, even more minute. They range through the memorable period 
of the Peloponnefian war, and the earlier ones give us the regular annual 
feries of thefe performances, as far as Ariftophanes contributed them, during 
feveral years. The firft of them, " The Acharnians," was performed at the 
Lenaean feaft of Bacchus in the fixth year of the Peloponnefian war, the 
year 425 B.C., when it gained the firft prize. It is a bold attack on 
the factious prolongation of the war through the influence of the Athenian 
demagogues. The next, "The Knights," brought out in b.c. 424, is a 
direct attack upon Cleon, the chief of thefe demagogues, although he is 
not mentioned by name 5 and it is recorded that, finding nobody who had 
courage enough to make a malk reprefenting Cleon, or to play the cha- 
racter, Ariftophanes was obliged to perform it himfelf, and that he fmeared 
his face with lees of wine, in order to reprefent the flufhed and bloated 
countenance of the great demagogue, thus returning to the original mode 
of acting of the predeceflbrs of Thefpis. This, too, was the flrft of the. 
comedies of Ariftophanes which he publifhed in his own name. " The 
Clouds," publifhed in 423, is aimed at Socrates and the philofophers. 
The fourth, "The Wafps," publifhed in B.C. 422, prefents a fatire on the 
litigious fpirit of tne Athenians. The fifth, entitled "Peace " (''Eiprjvr]), 
appeared in the year following, at the time of the peace of Nicias, and is 
another fatire on the bellicofe fpirit of the Athenian democracy. The 
next in the lift of extant plays comes after an interval of feveral years, 
having been publifhed in B.C. 414, the firft year of the Sicilian war, ar\d 
relates to an irreligious movement in Athens, which had caufed a great 
fenfation. Two Athenians are reprefented as leaving Athens, in difguft 
at the vices and follies of their fellow citizens, and feeking the kingdom 


14 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

of the birds, where they form a new ftate, by which the communication 
between the mortals and the immortals is cut off, and is only opened 
again by an arrangement between all the parties. In the " Lyfiftrata, - ' 
believed to have been brought out in 411, when the war was ftill at its 
height, the women of Athens are reprefented as engaging in a cunning 
and fuccefsful plot, by which they gain poiTeffion of the government of the 
ftate, and compel their hulbands to make peace. "The Thefmo- 
phoriazufae," appears to have been publifhed in B.C. 410 ; it is a fatire 
upon Euripides, whole writings were remarkable for their bitter attacks 
on the character of the female fex, who, in this comedy, confpire againil 
him to fecure his punifhment. The comedy of "The Frogs" was brought 
out in the year 405 B.C., and is a fatire on the literature of the day ; it is 
aimed efpecially at Euripides, and was perhaps written foon after his death, 
its real fubje<5t being the decline of the tragic drama, which Euripides 
was accufed of having promoted. It is perhaps the moll witty of the 
plays of Ariftophanes which have been preferved. "The Ecclefiazufae," 
publifhed in 392, is a burlefque upon the theories of republican govern- 
ment, which were then ftarted among the philofophers, fome of which 
differed little from our modern communifm. The ladies again, by a clever 
confpiracy, gain the mailery in the eftate, and they decree a community 
of goods and women, with fome laws very peculiar to that ftate of things. 
The humour of the piece, which is extremely broad, turns upon the 
difputes and embarraftments refulting from this ftate of things. The 
laft of his comedies extant, " Plutus," appears to be a work of the 
concluding years of the active life of Ariftophanes ; it is the leaft ftriking 
of them all, and is rather a moral than a political fatire. 

In a comedy brought out in 426, the year before " The Archarnians," 
under the title of "The Babylonians," Ariftophanes appears to have given 
great offence to the democratic party, a circumftance to which he alludes 
more than once in the former play. However, his talents and popularity 
feem to have carried him over the danger, and certainly nothing can have 
exceeded the bitternefs of fatire employed in his fubfequent comedies. 
Thofe who followed him were lefs fortunate. 

One of the lateft writers of the Old Comedy was Anaximandrides, 


in Literature and Art. 

l 5 

who cart a reflection on the ftate of Athens in parodying a line of Euripides- 
This poet had faid, — 

?j (pvcng tfiovXeQ' T] voynov ovStv fikXu 
(Nature has commanded, which cares nothing for the laws); 

which Anaximandrides changed to — 

77 ttoXiq tj3ovXs9' rj vofiojv ovSev /liXa 
(The state has commanded, which cares nothing for the laws). 

Nowhere is oppreffion exercifed with greater harfhnefs than under demo- 
cratic governments 5 and Anaximandrides was profecuted for this joke as 
a crime againft the flate, and condemned to death. As may be fuppofed, 
liberty of fpeech ceafed to exift in Athens. We are well acquainted with 
the character of the Old Comedy, in its greater! freedom, through the 
writings of Ariltophanes. What was called the Middle Comedy, in 
which political fatire was prohibited, lafted from this time until the age 
of Philip of Macedon, when the old liberty of Greece was finally crufhed. 
The laft form of Greek comedy followed, which is known as the 
New Comedy, and was reprefented by fuch names as Epicharmus and 
Menander. In the New Comedy all caricature and parody, and all 
perfonal alluvions, were entirely profcribed 3 it was changed entirely into 
a comedy of manners and domeflic life, a picture of contemporary fociety 
under conventional names and characters. From this New Comedy was 
taken the Roman comedy, fuch as we now have it in the plays of Plautus 
and Terence, who were profeffed imitators of Menander and the other 
writers of the new comedy of the Greeks. 

Pictorial caricature was, of courfe, rarely to be feen on the public 
monuments of Greece or Rome, but muft have been configned to objects 
of a more popular character and to articles of common ufe 5 and, accord- 
ingly, modern antiquarian refearch has brought it to light fomewhat 
abundantly on the pottery of Greece and Etruna, and on the wall-paint- 
ings of domeftic buildings in Herculaneum and Pompeii. The former 
contains comic fcenes, efpecially parodies, which are evidently transferred 
to them from the ftage, and which preferve the maiks and other attributes 
— fome of which I have neceflarily omitted — proving the model from 



Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

which they were taken. The Greeks, as we know from many fources, 
were extremely fond of parodies of every defcription, whether literary or 
pictorial. The fubject of our cut No. 9 is a good example of the parodies 

No. 9. A Greek Parody. 

found on the Greek pottery -, it is taken from a fine Etrufcan vafe,* and 
has been fuppofed to be a parody on the vifit of Jupiter to Alcmena. 
This appears rather doubtful, but there can be no doubt that it is a 
burlefque reprefentation of the vifit of a lover to the object of his afpira- 
tions. The lover, in the comic mafk and coftume, mounts by a ladder to 
the window at which the lady prefents herfelf, who, it muft be confefTed, 
prefents the appearance of giving her admirer a very cold reception. He 
tries to conciliate her by a prefent of what feem to be apples, inftead of 


* Given in Panofka, " Antiques du Cabinet Pourtales," pi. x. 

in Literature and Art, 


*;old, but without much effect. He is attended by his fervant with a 
torch, to give him light on the way, which (hows that it is a night 
adventure. Both mailer and fervant have wreaths round their heads, and 
the latter carries a third in his hand, which, with the contents of his 
bafket, are alfo probably intended as prefents to the lady. 

A more unmiftakable burlefque on the vifit of Jupiter to Alcmena 
is publifhed by Winckelmann from a vafe, formerly in the library of the 
Vatican, and now at St. Petersburg. The treatment of the fubject is 
not unlike the picture juil defcribed. Alcmena appears juft in the fame 
pollure at her chamber window, and Jupiter is carrying his ladder to 
mount up to her, but has not yet placed it againft the wall. His 
companion is identified with Mercury by the well-known caduceus he 
carries in his left hand, while with his right hand he holds a lamp up 
to the window, in order to enable Jupiter to fee the object of his amour. 

It is aftonifhing with how much boldnefs the Greeks parodied and 
ridiculed facred fubjects. The Chriflian father, Arnobius, m writing 
againft his heathen opponents, reproached them with this circumftance. 
The laws, he fays, were made to protect the characters of men from 
flander and libel, but there was no fuch protection for the characters of 
the gods, which were treated with the greater!; difrefpect.* This was 
efpecially the cafe in their pictorial reprefentations. 

Pliny informs us that Ctefilochus, a pupil of the celebrated Apelles, 
painted a burlefque picture of Jupiter giving birth to Bacchus, in which' 
the god was reprefented in a very ridiculous pofture.f Ancient writers 
intimate that fimilar examples were not uncommon, and mention the 
names of feveral comic painters, whofe works of this clafs were in repute. 
Some of thefe were bitter perfonal caricatures, like a celebrated work of a 


* Arnobius {contra Gentes\ lib. iv. p. 150. Carmen malum conscribere, quo fama 
alterius coinquinatur et vita, decemviralibus scitis evadere noluistis impune : ac ne 
vestras aures convitio aliquis petulantiore pulsaret, de atrocibus formulas consti- 
tuistis injuriis. Soli dii sunt apud vos superi inhonorati, contemtibiles, viles : in 
quos jus est vobis datum quae quisque voluerit dicere turpitudinem, jacere quas 
libido confinxerit atque excogitaverit formas. 

t Pliny, Hist. Nat., lib. xxxv. c. 40. 


1 8 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

painter named Cteficles, defcribed alfo by Pliny. It appears that Stra- 
tonice, the queen of Seleucus Nicator, had received this painter ill when 
he vhited her court, and in revenge he executed a picture in which me 
was reprefented, according to a current fcandal, as engaged in an amour 
with a common fifherman, which he exhibited in the harbour of Ephefus, 
and then made his efcape on lhip-board. Pliny adds that the queen 
admired the beauty and accuracy of the painting more than fhe felt the 
infult, and that fhe forbade the removal of the picture.* 

The fubje6t of our fecond example of the Greek caricature is better 
known. It is taken from an oxybaphon which was brought from the 
Continent to England, where it patted into the collection of Mr. William 
Hope.f The oxybaphon (d£u/3a0oy), or, as it was called by the Romans, 
acetabulum, was a large veflel for holding vinegar, which formed one of 
the important ornaments of the table, and was therefore very fufceptible 
of pictorial embellifhment of this defcription. It is one of the moll remark- 
able Greek caricatures of this kind yet known, and reprefents a parody on 
one of the moft interefting flories of the Grecian mythology, that of the 
arrival of Apollo at Delphi. The artift, in his love of burlefque, has 
fpared none of the perfonages who belonged to the ftory. The Hyper- 
borean Apollo himfelf appears in the character of a quack doctor, on his 
temporary ftage, covered by a fort of roof, and approached by wooden 
fteps. On the ftage lies Apollo's luggage, confirming of a bag, a bow, and 
his Scythian cap. Chiron (XIPQN) is reprefented as labouring under 
the effects of age and blindnefs, and fupporting himfelf by the aid of a 
crooked ftaff, as he repairs to the Delphian quack-doctor for relief. The 
figure of the centaur is made to afcend by the aid of a companion, both 
being furniihed with the mafks and other attributes of the comic per- 
formers. Above are the mountains, and on them the nymphs of Par- 
naffus (NYM<£AI), who, like all the other actors in the fcene, are difguifed 
with mafks, and thofe of a very grotefque character. On the right-hand 


* Pliny, Hist. Nat., lib. xxxv. c. 40. 

f Engraved by Ch. Lenormant et J. de Witt, "Elite des Monuments Ceramo- 
graphiques," pi. xciv. 

in Literature and Art. 


fide Hands a figure which is considered as reprefenting the epoptes, the 
infpector or overfeer of the performance, who alone wears no matk. 
Even a pun is employed to heighten the drollery of the fcene, for inftead 
of IIY9IA2, the Pythian, placed over the head of the burlefque Apollo, 
it feems evident that the artift had written HEI0IA3, the confoler, in 
allufion, perhaps, to the confolation which the quack-doctor is adminifier- 
ing to his blind and aged vifitor. 

The Greek fpirit of parody, applied even to the raoft facred fubje&s, 

No. 10. Apollo at Delphi 

however it may have declined in Greece, was revived at Rome, and we find 
examples of it on the walls of Pompeii and Herculaneum. They fhow 
the fame readinefs to turn into burlefque the moft facred and popular 
legends of the Roman mythology. The example given (cut No. 11), 
from one of the wall-paintings, is peculiarly intereiling, both from 
circumftances in the drawing itfelf, and becaufe it is a parody on one of 
the favourite national legends of the Roman people, who prided them- 



Hijiory of Caricature and Grotejque 

felves on their defcent from iEneas. Virgil has told, with great effect, 
the ftory of his hero's efcape from the deftxu6tion of Troy — or rather. has 
put the flory into his hero's mouth. When the devoted city was already 

iTT^V" ~^~7 , ,.,, .,.;, ;,:■. .!j' . ii „ n I, : IM.,', ., , 

ui fl t] o o n o n f] n o o o o n o o 

No. ii. The Fligh. of Mneas from Troy. 

in flames, JEneas took his father, Anchifes, on his fhoulder, and his boy, 
lulus, or, as he was otherwife called, Afcanius, by the hand, and thus fled 
from his home, followed by his wife — 

Ergo age, care pater, cervici importer e nojira ,• 

Ipfe fubibo humeris, nee me labor ijle grairabit. 

Quo res cumque cadent, unum et commune periclum, 

Una fa/us ambobus erit. Mi hi parvus lulus 

Sit comes, et longe fervat vejligia conjux. — Virg. &n., lib. ii. L 707. 


in Literature and Art. 


Thus they hurried on, the child holding by his father's right hand, and 
dragging after with " unequal fteps," — 

dextra fe parvus lulus 
Implicult fequiturque patrem non pajfibus aquls. — Virg. 2En., lib. ii. 1. 723. 

And thus iEneas bore away both father and fon, and the penates, or 
houfehold gods, of his family, which were to be transferred to another 
country, and become the future guardians of Rome — 

Ajcanium, Anchijemque patrem, Tencrofque penates. — lb., L 747. 

In this cafe we know that the defign is intended to be a parody, 
or burlefque, upon a picture which appears to have been celebrated 

No. 12. The Flight of Mneas. 

at the time, and of which at leaft two different copies are found upon 
ancient intaglios. Tt is the only cafe I know in which both the original 


22 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

and the parody have been preferved from this remote period, and this is 
fo curious a circumftance, that I give in the cut on the preceding page a 
copy of one of the intaglios.* It repreiented literally Virgil's account of 
the flory, and the only difference between the defign on the intaglios and 
the one given in our firft cut is, that in the latter the perfonages are repre- 
fented under the forms of monkeys. iEneas, perfonified by the ftrong and 
vigorous animal, carrying the old monkey, Anchifes, on his left fhoulder, 
hurries forward, and at the fame time looks back on the burning city. With 
his right hand he drags along the boy lulus, or Afcanius, who is evidently 
proceeding non pajjilus cequis, and with difficulty keeps up with his 
father's pace. The boy wears a Phrygian bonnet, and holds in his right 
hand the inurnment of play which we mould now call a "bandy" 
— the pedum Anchifes has charge of the box, which contains the facred 
penates. It is a curious circumftance that the monkeys in this picture are 
the fame dog-headed animals, or cynocephali, which are found on 
the Egyptian monuments. 

* These intaglios are engraved in the Museum Florentinum of Gorius, vol. ii. 
pi. 30 On one of them the figures are reversed. 

When this chapter was already given tor press, I first became acquainted with 
an interesting paper, by Panofka, on the " Parodieen und Karikaturen auf Werken 
der Klassischen Kunst," in the " Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften 
zu Berlin, - " for the year 1854, ar) d I can only now refer my readers to it. 

in Literature and Art. 

2 3 









THE Romans appear to have never had any real tafte for the regular 
drama, which they merely copied from the Greeks, and from the 
earlieft period of their hiftory we find them borrowing all their arts of 
this defcription from their neighbours. In Italy, as in Greece, the nrft 
germs of comic literature may be traced in the religious feftivals, which 
prefented a mixture of religious worfhip and riotous feflivity, where the 
feaflers danced and fung, and, as they became excited with wine and enthu- 
fiafm, indulged in mutual reproaches and abufe. The oldeft poetry of the 
Romans, which was compofed in irregular meafure, was reprefented by the 
verfus faturnini, faid to have been fo called from their antiquity (for things- 
of remote antiquity were believed to belong to the age of Saturn). Nsevius, 
one of the oldeft of Latin poets, is faid to have written in this verfe. Next 
in order of time came the Fefcennine verfes, which appear to have been 
diftinguifhed chiefly by their licenfe, and received their name becaufe 
they were brought from Fefcennia, in Etruria, where they were employed 
originally in the feftivals of Ceres and Bacchus. In the year 391 of 
Rome, or 361 B.C., the city was vifited by a dreadful plague, and the 
citizens hit upon what will appear to us the rather ftrange expedient of 
fending for performers (ludiones) from Etruria, hoping, by employing 
them, to appeafe the anger of the gods. Any performer of this kind 
appears to have been fo little known to the Romans before this, that 


24 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

there was not even a name for him in the language, and they were 
obliged to adopt the Tufcan word, and call him a hijlrio, becaufe hifter in 
that language meant a player or pantomimift. This word, we know, 
remained in the Latin language. Thefe firft Etrurian performers appear 
indeed to have been mere pantomimifts, who accompanied the flute with 
all forts of mountebank tricks, geftures, dances, gefticulations, and the 
like, mixed with fatirical fongs, and fometimes with the performance of 
coarfe farces. The Romans had alfo a clafs of performances rather more 
dramatic in character, confining of ftories which were named Fahulce 
Atellance, becaufe thefe performers were brought from Atella, a city of 
the Ofci. 

A coniiderable advance was made in dramatic Art in Rome about the 
middle of the third century before Chrift. It is afcribed to a freedman 
named Livius Andronicus, a Greel- by birth, who is faid to have brought 
out, in the year 240 B.C., the htft regular comedy ever performed in 
Rome. Thus we trace not only the Roman comedy, but the very rudi- 
ments of dramatic art in Rome, either direct to the Greeks, or to the 
Grecian colonies in Italy. With the Romans, as well as with the Greeks, 
the theatre was a popular institution, open to the public, and the flate or 
a wealthy individual paid for the performance ; and therefore the building 
ltfelf was neceffarily of very great extent, and, in both countries open to 
the Iky, except that the Romans provided for throwing an awning over 
it. As the Roman comedy was copied from the new comedy of the 
Greeks, and therefore did not admit of the introduction of caricature and 
burlefque on the ftage, thefe were left efpecially to the province of the 
pantomime and farce, which the Romans, as juft Hated, had received 
from a Hill earlier period. 

Whether the Romans borrowed the maik from the Greeks, or not, is 
rather uncertain, but it was ufed as generally in the Roman theatres, 
whether in comedy or tragedy, as among the Greeks. The Greek actors 
performed upon ftilts, 111 order to magnify their figures, as the area of the 
theatre was very large and uncovered, and without this help they were 
not fo well feen at a diftance ; and one object of utility aimed at by the 
mafk is faid to have been to make the head appear proportionate in iize 


in . Literature and Art. 

2 5 

to the artificial height of the body. It may be remarked that the matk 
feems generally to have been made to cover the whole head, reprefenting 
the hair as well as the face, fo that the character of age or complexion 
might be given complete. Among the Romans the Hilts were certainly 
not in general ufe, but (till the maik, betides its comic or tragic chara&er, 
is fuppofed to have ferved ufeful purpofes. The firft improvement upon 
its original ftruclure is faid to have been the making it of brafs, or fome 

Scene from Terence . 

other fonorous metal, or at leaft lining the mouth with it,fo as to reverberate, 
and give force to the voice, and alio to the mouth of the maik fomething of 
the character of a fpeaking-trumpet.* All thefe accefTories could not fail to 
detra6t much from the effect of the acting, which muft in general have 
been very meafured and formal, and have received moll of its importance 
from the excellence of the poetry, and the declamatory talents of the 
actors. We have pictures in which fcenes from the Roman ftage are 


* It is said to have received its Latin name from this circumstance, perfona, a 
perjonando. See Aulus Gellius, Noct Alt., lib. v. c 7. 



Hi/lory of Caricature and Grot ef que 

accurately reprefented. Several rather early manufcripts of Terence have 
been preferved, illuftrated with drawings of the fcenes as reprefented on 
the ftage, and thefe, though belonging to a period long fubfequent to the 
age in which the Roman ftage exifted in its original character, are, no 
doubt, copied from drawings of an earlier date. A German antiquary of 
the laft century, Henry Berger, publifhed in a quarto volume a feries of 
fuch illuftrations from a manufcript of Terence in the library of the 
Vatican at Rome, from which two examples are (elected, as fhowing the 

No. 14. Get a and Demea. 

ufual ftyle of Roman comic acting, and the ufe of the mafk. The firft 
(No. 13) is the opening fcene in the Andria. On the right, two fervants 
have brought provifions, and on .the left appear Simo, the mailer of the 
houfehold, and his freedman, Sofia, who feems to be entrufted with the 
charge of his domefiic affairs. Simo tells his fervants to go away with 
the provifions, while he beckons Sofia to confer with him in private : — 

Si. Vos ijlcec Intro auferte ; abite. Sojia, 
Adejdum ; paucis te -volo. So. DiBum puta 
Newpe ut curentur reEle hac. Si. Imo aliud. 

Terent. Andr., Actus i., Scena 1. 


in Literature and Art 


When we compare thefe words with the picture, we cannot but feel that 
in the latter there is an unneceffary degree of energy put into the pofe 
of the figures j which is perhaps lefs the cafe in the other (No. 14), an 
illuftration of the fixth fcene of the fifth act of the Adelphi of Terence. It 
reprefents the meeting of Geta, a rather talkative and conceited fervant, 
and Demea, a countryfied and churlifh old man, his acquaintance, and of 
courfe fuperior. To Geta's falutation, Demea afks churlithly, as not at 
firft knowing him, "Who are you?" but when he finds that it is Geta, 
he changes fuddenly to an almoft fawning tone : — 

G Sed eccum Demeam. Salvus fies. 

D. Oh, qui vocare ? G-. Geta. D. Geta, hom'inem max'imi 
Pretii ejfe te kodie judicavi ammo mei. 

That thefe reprefentations are truthful, the fcenes in the wall-paintings 
ot Pompeii leave us no room to doubt. One of thefe is produced in our 
cut No. 15, which is no doubt taken from a comedy now loft, and we 

are ignorant whom the characters are intended to reprefent. The pofe 
given to the two comic figures, compared with the example given from 


Berger, would lead us to fuppofe that this over-energetic action was 
confidered as part of the character of comic acting. 

The fubje6t of the Roman matks is the more interesting, becaufe they 
were probably the origin of many of the grotefque faces fo often met 
with in mediaeval fculpture. The comic malk was, indeed, a very popular 
object among the Romans, and appears to have been taken as fymbolical 
of everything that was droll and burlefque. From the comic fcenes of 
the theatre, to which it was firft appropriated, it paffed to the popular 
feftivals of a public character, fuch as the Lupercalia, with which, no 
doubt, it was carried into the carnival of the middle ages, and to our 
mafquerades. Among the Romans, alio, the ufe of the maik foon paffed 
from the public feftivals to private fupper parties. Its ufe was fo common 
that it became a plaything among children, and was fometimes ufed as a 
bugbear to frighten them. Our cut No. 16, taken from a painting at 

No. 1 6. Cupids at Play. 

Refina, reprefents two cupids playing with a malk, and uling it for this 
latter purpofe, that is, to frighten one another ; and it is curious that the 
mediaeval glofs of Ugutio explains larva, a maik, as being an image, 
"which was put over the face to frighten children."* The maik thus 
became a favourite ornament, efpecially on lamps, and on the antefixa 


* "Simulacrum quod opponitur faciei ad terrendos parvos." (Ugutio, ap. 

Ducange, v. Mafca.) 

in Literature and Art. 


and gargoyls of Roman buildings, to which were often given the form of 
grotefque malts, monftrous faces, with great mouths wide open, and 
other figures, like thofe of the gargoyls of the mediaeval architects. 

While the comic malk was ufed generally in the burleique entertain- 
ments, it alio became diftinctive of particular characters. One of thefe 
was the fannio, or buffoon, whofe name was derived from the Greek word 
aawoQ, "a fool," and who was employed in performing burlefque dances, 
making grimaces, and in other afts calculated to excite the mirth of the 
fpe&ator. A reprefentation of the fannio is given in our cut No. 17, 

No. 17. The Roman Sanmo, or Buffoon. 

copied from one of the engravings in the "Differtatio de Larvis Scenicis," 
by the Italian antiquary Ficoroni, who took it from an engraved gem. 
The fannio holds in his hand what isfuppofed to be a brals rod, and he has 


30 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

probably another in the other hand, fo that he could ftrike them together. 
He wears the foccus, or low fhoe peculiar to the comic actors. This 
buffoon was a favourite character among the Romans, who introduced 
him conftantly into their feafls and fupper parties. The manducus was 
another character of this defcription, reprefented with a grotefque mafk, 
prefenting a wide mouth and tongue lolling out, and faid to have been 
peculiar to the Atellane plays. A character in Plautus (Rud., ii. 6, 51) 
talks of hiring himfelf as a manducus in the plays. 

" ^uidji allquo ad ludos me pro manduco locem ? " 

The mediaeval gloffes interpret manducus by joculator, "a jogelor," and 
add that the characteriflic from which he took his name was the practice 
of making grimaces like a man gobbling up his food in a vulgar and 
gluttonous manner. 

Ficoroni gives, from an engraved onyx, a figure of another burlefque 
performer, copied in our cut No. 18, and which he compares to the 

Roman Tcm Fool. 

Catanian dancer of his time (his book was publilhed in 1754), who was 
called a giangurgolo. This is confidered to reprefent the Roman mimus, 
a clafs of performers who told with mimicry and action fcenes taken from 


in Literature and Art. 

3 1 

common life, and more efpecially fcandalous and indecent anecdotes, like 
the jogelors and performers of farces in the middle ages. The Romans 
were very much attached to thefe performances, fo much fo, that they 
even had them at their funeral proceffions and at their funeral feafts. In 
our figure, the mimus is reprefented naked, mafked (with an exaggerated 
nofe), and wearing what is perhaps intended as a caricature of the 
Phrygian bonnet. In his right hand he holds a bag, or purfe, full of 
objects which rattle and make a noife when fhaken, while the other holds 
the crotalum, or caflanets, an inftrument in common ufe among the 
ancients. One of the ftatues in the Barberini Palace reprefents a youth 
in a Phrygian cap playing on the crotalum, We learn, from an early 
authority, that it was an inftrument efpecially ufed in the fatirical and 
burlefque dances which were fo popular among the Romans. 

As I have remarked before, the Romans had no tafte for the regular 
drama, but they retained to the laft their love for the performances of 
the popular mimi, or comcedi (as they were often called), the players 
of farces, and the dancers. Thefe performed on the ftage, in the public 
feftivals, in the ftreets, and were ufually introduced at private parties.* 
Suetonius tells us that on one occafion, the emperor Caligula ordered a 
poet who compofed the Atellanes {Atellance poetam) to be burnt in 
the middle of the amphitheatre, for a pun. A more regular comedy, 
however, did nourifh, to a certain degree, at the fame time with thefe 
more popular compofitions. Of the works of the earlier!: of the Roman 
comic writers, Livius Andronicus and Naevius, we know only one or two 
titles, and a few fragments quoted in the works of the later Roman 
writers. They were followed by Plautus, who died b.c. 184, and nineteen 
of whofe comedies are preferved and well known ; by feveral other 
writers, whofe names are almoft forgotten, and whofe comedies are all 
loft ; and by Terence, fix of whofe comedies are preferved. Terence 
died about the year 159 b.c. About the fame time with Terence lived 


* See, for allusions to the private employment of these performances, Pliny, 
Epi^t. i. 15, and ix. 36. 

32 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

Lucius Afranius and Quinctius Atta, who appear to clofe the lift of the 
Roman writers of comedy. 

But another branch of comic literature had fprung out of the fatire of 
the religious feftivities. A year after Livius Andronicus produced the 
firft drama at Rome, in the year 239 B.C., the poet Ennius was born at 
Rudiae, in Magna Graecia. The fatirical verfe, whether Saturnine or 
Fefcennine, had been gradually improving in its form, although ftill very 
rude, but Ennius is faid to have given at leaft a new polifh, and perhaps 
a new metrical fhape, to it. The verfe was Hill irregular, but it 
appears to have been no longer intended for recitation, accompanied by 
the flute. The Romans looked upon Ennius not only as their earlieft epic 
poet, but as the father of fatire, a clafs of literary composition which 
appears to have originated with them, and which they claimed as their 
own.* Ennius had an imitator in M. Terentius Varro. The fatires ot 
thefe flrft writers are faid to have been very irregular compofitions, mixing 
profe with verfe, and fometimes even Greek with Latin ; and to have 
been rather general in their aim than perfonal. But fcon after this 
period, and rather more than a century before Chrift, came Caius 
Lucilius, who raifed Roman fatirical literature to its perfection. Lucilius, 
we are told, was the firft who wrote fatires in heroic verfe, or hexameters, 
mixing with them now and then, though rarely, an iambic or trochaic 
line. He was more refined, more pointed, and more perfonal, than his 
predeceflbrs, and he had refcued fatire from the ftreet performer to make 
it a clafs of literature which was to be read by the educated, and not 
merely liftened to by the vulgar. Lucilius is faid to have written thirty 
books of fatires, of which, unfortunately, only fome fcattered lines 

Lucilius had imitators, the very names of moft of whom are now for- 
gotten, but about forty years after his death, and fixty-five years before 
the birth of Chriil, was born Quintus Horatius Flaccus, the oldeft of the 
fatirilts whole works we now poffefs, and the moft polifhed of Roman 


in Literature and Art. 


poets. In the time of Horace, the fatire of the Romans had reached its 
highefc degree of perfection. Of the two other great fa ti rifts whofe works 
are preferved, Juvenal was born about the year 40 of the Chriftian era, 
and Perfius in 43. During the period through which thefe w T riters 
flourimed, Rome faw a considerable number of other fatirifts of the 
fame clafs, whofe works have perilhed. 

Tn the time of Juvenal another variety of the fame clafs of literature had 
already fprung up, more artificial and fomewhat more indirect than the 
other, the profe fatiric romance. Three celebrated writers reprefent this 
fchool. Petronius, who, born about the commencement of our era, 
died in a.d. 6$, is the earlieft and moft remarkable of them. He 
compiled a romance, defigned as a fatire on the vices of the age of Nero, 
in which real perfons are fuppofed to be aimed at under fictitious names, 
and which rivals in licenfe, at leaft, anything that could have been uttered 
in the Atellanes or other farces of the mim'i. Lucian, of Samofata, who 
died an old man in the year 200, and who, though he wrote in Greek, 
may be confidered as belonging to the Roman fchool, compofed feveral 
fatires of this kind, in one of the moll remarkable of which, entitled 
" Lucius, or the Afs," the author defcribes himfelf as changed by forcery 
into the form of that animal, under which he paffes through a number 
of adventures which illuftrate the vices and weakneffes of contemporary 
fociety. Apuleius, who was confiderably the junior of Lucian, made this 
novel the groundwork of his " Golden Afs," a much larger and more 
elaborate work, written in Latin. This work of Apuleius was very 
popular through fubfequent ages. 

Let us return to Roman caricature, one form of which feems to have 
been efpecially a favourite among the people. It is difficult to imagine 
how the ftoryof the pigmies and of their wars with the cranes originated, 
but it is certainly of great antiquity, as it is fpoken of in Homer, and it 
was a very popular legend among the Romans, who eagerly fought and 
purchafed dwarfs to make domeftic pets of them. The pigmies and 
cranes occur frequently among the pictorial ornamentations of the houfes 
of Pompeii and Herculaneum ; and the painters of Pompeii not only 
reprefented them in their proper character, but they made ufe of them for 

f the 


Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

the purpofe of caricaturing the various occupations of life — domeftic 
and focial fcenes, grave conferences, and many other fubjects, and 
even perfonal character. In this clafs of caricatures they gave to the 
pigmies, or dwarfs, very large heads, and very fmall legs and arms. I 
need hardly remark that this is a clafs of caricature which is very common 
in modern times. Our firft group of thefe pigmy caricatures (No. 19) is 

N§. 19. The Farm-yard in Burlefque. 

taken from a painting on the walls of the Temple of Venus, at Pompeii, 
and reprefents the interior of a farm-yard in burlefque. The flru6ture in 
the background is perhaps intended for a hayrick. In front of it, one of 
the farm fervants is attending on the poultry. The more important- 
looking perfonage with the paftoral ftaff is poffibly the overfeer of the 
farm, who is vifiting the labourers, and this 
probably is the caufe why their movements 
have afTumed fo much activity. The labourer 
on the right is ufing the ajilla, a wooden yoke 
or pole, which was carried over the moulder, 
with the corbis, or bafket, fufpended at each 
end. This was a common method of carrying, 
and is not unfrequently reprefented on Roman 
works of art. Several examples might be 
quoted from the antiquities of Pompeii. Our 
cut No. 20, from a gem in the Florentine 
Mufeum, and illustrating another clafs of caricature, that of introducing 
animals performing the actions and duties of men, reprefents a grafshopper 
carrying the ajilla and the corhes. 

A private 

No, 20. An Ajilla- Bearer. 

in Literature and Art. 


A private houfe in Pompeii furnifhed another example of this ftyle of 
caricature, which is given in our cut No. 21. It reprefents the interior of 
a painter's fludio, and is extremely curious on account of the numerous 
details of his method of operation with which it furnimes us. The 

No. 21. A Painters Studio. 

painter, who is, like moft of the figures in thefe pigmy caricatures, very 
fcantily clothed, is occupied with the portrait of another, who, by the 
rather exaggerated fulnefs of the gathering of his toga, is evidently 
intended for a dafhing and fafhionable patrician, though he is feated as 
bare-legged and bare-breeched as the artift himfelf. Both are diftinguifhed 
by a large allowance of nofe. The eafel here employed refembles greatly 
the fame article now in ufe, and might belong to the ftudio of a 
modern painter. Before it is a fmall table, probably formed of a flab 
of (tone, which ferves for a palette, on which the painter fpreads and 
mixes his colours. To the right a fervant, who fills the office of colour- 
grinder, is feated by the fide of a veffel placed over hot coals, and appears 
to be preparing colours, mixed, according to the directions given in old 
writers, with punic wax and oil. In the background is feated a ftudent, 
whofe attention is taken from his drawing by what is going on at the 
other fide of the room, where two fmall perfonages are entering, who 
look as if they were amateurs, and who appear to be talking about the 
portrait. Behind them fiands a bird, and when the painting was firft 



Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

uncovered there were two. Mazois, who made the drawing from which 
oar cut is taken, before the original had periihed — for it was found in a 
ftate of decay — imagined that the birds typified fome well-known 
fingers or muficians, but they are, perhaps, merely intended for cranes, 
birds fo generally aflbciated with the pigmies. 

According to an ancient writer, combats of pigmies were favourite 
reprefentations on the walls of taverns and fhops ;* and, curioufly enough, 
the walls of a (hop in Pompeii have furnifhed the picture reprefented in 
our cut No. 22, which has evidently been intended for a caricature, 

probably a parody. All the pigmies in this picture are crowned with 
laurel, as though the painter intended to turn to ridicule fome over- 
pompous triumph, or fome public, perhaps religious, ceremony. The two 
figures to the left, who are clothed in yellow and green garments, appear 
to be difputing the pofTeffion of a bowl containing a liquid. One of 
thefe, like the two figures on the right, has a hoop thrown over his 
fhoulder. The firft of the latter perfonages wears a violet drefs, and 
holds in his right hand a rod, and in his left a ftatuette, apparently ot a 


* liri tCjv ica7n]\i(Dv. Problem. Aristotelic Sec. x. 7. 

in Literature and Art. 


deity, but its attributes are not diftinguilhable. The laft figure to the 
right has a robe, or mantle, of two colours, red and green, and holds in 
his hand a branch of a lily, or fome fimilar plant ; the reft of the picture 
is loft. Behind the other figure Hands a fifth, who appears younger and 
more refined in character than the others, and feems to be ordering or 
directing them. His drefs is red. 

We can have no doubt that political and perlbnal caricature flourifhed 
among the Romans, as we have fome examples of it on their works of 
art, chiefly on engraved ftones, though thefe are moftly of a character we 
could not here conveniently introduce ; but the fame rich mine of Roman 
art and antiquities, Pompeii, has furnifhed us with one fample of what 
may be properly confidered as a political caricature. In the year 59 of the 
Chriflian era, at a gladiatorial exhibition in the amphitheatre of Pompeii, 
where the people of Nuceria were prefent, the latter exprelfed themfelves 
in fuch fcornful terms towards the Pompeians, as led to a violent quarrel, 
which was followed by a pitched battle between the inhabitants of the 
two towns, and the Nucerians, being defeated, carried their complaints 
before the reigning emperor, Nero, who gave judgment in their favour, 
and condemned the people of Pompeii to fufpenfion from all theatrical 
amufements for ten years. The feelings of the Pompeians on this occafion 
are difplayed in the rude drawing reprefented in our cut No. 23, which 
is fcratched on the plafler of the external wall of a houfe in the ftreet to 
which the Italian antiquarians have given the name of the ftreet ot 
Mercury. A figure, completely armed, his head covered with what might 
be taken for a mediaeval helmet, is defcending what appear to be intended 
for the fteps of the amphitheatre. He carries in his hand a palm-branch, 
the emblem of victory. Another palm-branch ftands erect by his fide, 
and underneath is the infcription, in rather ruftic L3tin, " CAMPANI 
nians, you perifhed in the victor)'- together with the Nucerians." The 
other fide of the picture is more rudely and haftily drawn. It has been 
fuppofed to reprefent one of the victors dragging a prifoner, with his arms 
bound, up a ladder to a ftage or platform, on which he was perhaps to be 
exhibited to the jeers of the populace. Four years after this event, 



Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

Pompeii was greatly damaged by an earthquake, and flxteen years later 
came the eruption of Vefuvius, which buried the town, and left it in the 
condition in which it is now found. 

This curious caricature belongs to a clafs of monuments to which 
archaeologifts have given technically the Italian name of graffiti, fcratches 
or fcrawls, of which a great number, confifting chiefly of writing, have 
been found on the walls of Pompeii. They alfo occur among the remains 
on other Roman fires, and one found in Rome itfelf is efpecially intereft- 


No. 23. A. Popular Caricature. 

ing. During the alterations and extenfions which were made from time 
to time in the palace of the Caefars, it had been found necelTary to build 
acrofs a narrow ilreet which interfered the Palatine, and, in order to give 
fupport to the firu&ure above, a portion of the ftreet was walled off, and 
remained thus hermetically fealed until about the year 1857, when fome 
excavations on the fpot brought it to view. The walls of the fireet were 
found to be covered with thefe graffiti, among which one attracted efpecial 
attention, and, having been carefully removed, is now preferved in the 
mufeum of the Collegio Romano. It is a caricature upon a Chriftian 


in Literature and Art. 


named Alexamenos, by fome pagan who defpifed Chriftianity. The 
Saviour is reprefented under the form of a man with the head of an afs, 
extended upon a crofs, the Chriftian, Alexamenos, ftanding on one fide in 
the attitude of worfhip of that period. Underneath we read the infcrip- 


00 i 

=3 < 

uj a 

MTkI ^ 

a Beti 

•0 E Q ti 

No. 24. Early Caricature upon a Chnjiian, 

tion, AAEEAMEN02 CEBETE (for (refa'a') ©EON, " Alexamenos 
worfhips God." This curious figure, which may be placed among the 
raoft interefting as well as early evidences of the truth of Gofpel hiftory, 
is copied in our cut No. 24. It was drawn when the prevailing religion 
at Rome was Hill pagan, and a Chriftian was an object of contempt. 

40 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 





THE transition from antiquity to what we ufually underftand by the 
name of the middle ages was long and flow; it was a period during 
which much of the texture of the old fociety was destroyed, while at the fame 
time a new life was gradually given to that which remained. We know very 
little of the comic literature of this period of tranfition ; its literary remains 
connft chiefly of a mafs of heavy theology and of lives of faints. The 
ftage in its perfectly dramatic form — theatre and amphitheatre — had dis- 
appeared. The pure drama, indeed, appears never to have had great 
vitality among the Romans, whofe taftes lay far more among the vulgar 
performances of the mimics and jefters, and among the favage fcenes of 
the amphitheatre. While probably the performance of comedies, fuch 
as thofe of Plautus and Terence, foon went out of fafhion, and tragedies, 
like thofe of Seneca, were only written as literary compofitions, imitations 
of the fimilar works which formed fo remarkable a feature in the litera- 
ture of Greece, the Romans of all ranks loved to witnefs the loofe atti- 
tudes of their mimi, or liften to their equally loofe fongs and ftories. The 
theatre and the amphitheatre were ftate institutions, kept up at the 
national expenfe, and, as juft ftated, they perilhed with the overthrow of 
the weftern empire j and the fangui nary performances of the amphitheatre, 


in Literature and Art. 


if the amphitheatre itfelf continued to be ufed (which was perhaps the 
cafe in fome parts of weftern Europe), and they gave place to the more 
harmlefs exhibitions of dancing bears and other tamed animals,* for 
deliberate cruelty was not a chara&eriftic of the Teutonic race. But the 
mimi, the performers who fung fongs and told ftories, accompanied with 
dancing and mufic, furvived the fall of the empire, and continued to be 
as popular as ever. St. Auguftine, in the fourth century, calls thefe 
things nefaria, deteftable things, and fays that they were performed at 
night. f We trace in the capitularies the continuous exiftence of thefe 
performances during the ages which followed the empire, and, as in the 
time of St. Auguftine, they ftill formed the amufement of noclurnal 
affemblies. The capitulary of Childebert profcribes thofe who pafTed 
their nights with drunkennefs, jefting, and fongs. % The council of 
Narbonne, in the year 589, forbade people to fpend their nights "with 
dancings and filthy fongs." § The council of Mayenee, in 813, calls thefe 
fongs "filthy and licentious " (turpia atque fuxuriofa) ; and that of Paris 
fpeaks of them as "obfcene and filthy" (obfccena et turpia) ; while in 
another they are called "frivolous and diabolic." From the bitternefs 
with which the ecclefiaftical ordinances are expreffed, it is probable 
that thefe performances continued to preferve much of their old 
paganifm ; yet it is curious that they are fpoken of in thefe capitularies 
and a&s of the councils as being ftill pra6tifed in the religious feftivals, 
and even in the churches, fo tenacioufly did the old fentiments of the. 
race keep their poffeflion of the minds of the populace, long after they 
had embraced Chriftianity. Thefe "fongs," as they are called, continued 
alfo to confift not only of general, but of perfonal fatire, and contained 


* On this subject, see my " History of Domestic Manners and Sentiments," 
p. 65. The dancing-bear appears to have been a favourite performer among the 
Germans at a very early period. 

f Per totam noctem cantabantur hie nefaria et a cantaroribus salt'abatur. 
Augustini Serm. 311, part v. 

X Noctes pervigiles cum ebrietate, scurrilitate, vel canticis. See the Capitulary 
in Labbei ConciL, vol. v. 

§ Ut populi saltationibus et turpibus invigilant canticis. 


42 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

fcandalous flories of perfons living, and well known to thofe who heard 
them. A capitulary of the Frankifh king Childeric III., publifhed in 
the year 744, is directed againfl thofe who compofe and fing fongs in 
defamation of others (in blafphemiam alierius, to ufe the rather energetic 
language of the original) ; and it is evident that this offence was a very 
common one, for it is not unfrequently repeated in later records of this 
character in the fame words or in words to the fame purpofe. Thus one 
refult of the overthrow of the Roman empire was to leave comic literature 
almoft in the fame condition in which it was found by Thefpis in Greece 
and by Livius Andronicus in Rome. There was nothing in it which 
would be contrary to the feelings of the new races who had now planted 
themfelves in the Roman provinces. 

The Teutonic and Scandinavian nations had no doubt their popular 
feftivals, in which mirth and frolic bore fway, though we know little 
about them ; but there were circumstances in their domeftic manners 
which implied a neceffity for amufement. After the comparatively early 
meal, the hall of the primitive Teuton was the fcene — efpecially in the 
darker months of winter — of long fittings over the feftive board, in which 
there was much drinking and much talking, and, as we all know, fuch 
talking could not preferve long a very ferious tone. From Bede's account 
of the poet Caedmon, we learn that it was the practice of the Anglo-Saxons 
in the feventh century, at their entertainments, for all thofe prefent 
to fing in their turns, each accompanying himfelf with a mufical 
inftrument. From the fequel of the ftory we are led to fuppofe that 
thefe fongs were extemporary effufions, probably mythic legends, flories 
of perfonal adventure, praife of themfelves, or vituperation of their 
enemies. In the chieftain's houfehold there appears to have been 
ufually fome individual who acted the part of the fatirift, or, as we fhould 
perhaps now fay, the comedian. Hunferth appears as holding fome fuch 
polition in Beowulf; in the later romances, Sir Kay held a fimilar pofition 
at the court of king Arthur. At a mil later period, the place of thefe 
heroes was occupied by the court fool. The Roman mimus mull have been 
a welcome addition to the entertainments of the Teutonic hall, and there 
is every reafon to think that he was cordially received. The performances 


in Literature and Art. 


of the hall were foon delegated from the guefts to fuch hired a&ors, and 
we have reprefentations of them in the illuminations of Anglo-Saxon 
manufcripts.* Among the earlieft amufements of the Anglo-Saxon table 
were riddles, which in every form prefent fome of the features of the 
comic, and are capable of being made the fource of much laughter. The 
faintly Aldhelm condefcended to write fuch riddles in Latin verfe, which 
were, of courfe, intended for the tables of the clergy. In primitive 
fociety, verfe was the ordinary form of conveying ideas. A large portion 
of the celebrated collection of Anglo-Saxon poetry known as the 
"Exeter Book," conhfts of riddles, and this tafte for riddles has continued 
to exift down to our own times. But other forms of entertainment, if 
they did net already exift, were foon introduced. In a curious Latin poem, 
older than the twelfth century, of which fragments only are preferved, 
and have been publifhed under the title of " Ruodlieb," and which 
appears to have been a tranflation of a much earlier German romance, 
we have a curious defcription of the poll-prandial entertainments after 
the dinner of a great Teutonic chieftain, or king. In the firft place there 
was a grand diftribution of rich prefents, and then were mown ftrange 
animals, and among the reft rame bears. Thefe bears flood upon their 
hind legs, and performed fome of the offices of a man ; and when the 
minllrels (mimi) came in, and played upon their mufical inflruments, thefe 
animals danced to the mulic, and performed all forts of ftrange tricks. 

Et parties urfi 

Qui 'vas tollebant, ut homo, bipedejque gerebant. 
Mimi quando jides digitis tangunt modulantes, 
Illi jaltabant, neumas pedibus variabant. 
Inter dum faliunt, jejeque fuper jaciebant. 
Alter utrum dor jo je portabant re/idefido, 
Amplexando fe, luclando dejiciunt je. 

Then followed dancing-girls, and exhibitions of other kinds, f 


* The reader is referred, for further information on this subject, to my " History 
of Domestic Manners and Sentiments,'" pp. 33-39. 

f This curious Latin poem was printed by Grimm and Schmeller, in their 
Lateinische Gedichte des x. und xi. Jh., p. 129. 

44 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

Although thefe performances were profcribed by the ecclefiaftical 
laws, they were not difcountenanced by the ecclefiaftics themfelves, who, 
on the contrary, indulged as much in after-dinner amufements as any- 
body. The laws againft the profane fongs are often directed efpecially 
at the clergy ; and it is evident that among the Anglo-Saxons, as well 
as on the Continent, not only the priefts and monks, but the nuns alfo, 
in their love of fuch amufements, far tranfgrefTed the bounds of decency.* 
Thefe entertainments were the cradle of comic literature, but, as this 
literature in the early ages of its hiftory was rarely committed to writing, 
it has almoft entirely periihed. But, at the tables of the ecclefiaftics, 
thefe ftories were fometimes told in Latin verfe, and as Latin was not 
fo eaftly carried in the memory as the vernacular tongue, in this lan- 
guage they were fometimes committed to writing, and thus a few 
examples of early comic literature have fortunately been preferved. Thefe 
confift chiefly of popular ftories, which were among the favourite amufe- 
ments of mediaeval fociety — ftories many of which are derived from the 
earlieft period of the hiftory of our race, and are ftill cherifhed among 
our peafantry. Such are the ftories of the Child of Snow, and of 
the Mendacious Hunter, preferved in a manufcript of the eleventh 
century, f The firft of thefe was a very popular ftory in the middle 
ages. According to this early verfion, a merchant of Conftance, in 
Switzerland, was detained abroad for feveral years, during which time 
his wife made other acquaintance, and bore a child. On his return, fhe 
excufed her fault by telling him that on a cold wintry day fhe had 
fwallowed fnow, by which fhe had conceived ; and, in revenge, the 
hufband carried away the child, and fold it into flavery, and returning, 


* On the character of the nuns among the Anglo-Saxons, and indeed of the 
inmates of the monastic houses generally, I would refer my readers to the excellent 
and interesting volume by Mr. John Thrupp, "The Anglo-Saxon Home: a 
History of the Domestic Institutions and Customs of England from the fifth to the 
eleventh century." London, 1862. 

f These will be found in M. Edelestand du MeriTs Poesies Populaires Latines 
anterieures au douzieme siecle, pp. 275, 276. 

in Literature and Art. 


told its mother, that the infant which had originated in mow, had melted 
away under a hotter fun. Some of thefe ftories originated in the 
different collections of fables, which were part of the favourite literature 
of the later Roman period. Another is rather a ridiculous ftory of an 
afs belonging to two fillers in a nunnery, which was devoured by a 
wolf.* It is curious how foon the mediaeval clergy began to imitate 
their pagan predeceffors in parodying religious fubjecls and forms, of 
which we have one or two very curious examples. Vifits to purgatory, 
hell, and paradife, in body or fpirit, were greatly in faihion during the 
earlier part of the middle ages, and afforded extremely good material 
for fatire. In a metrical Latin ftory, preferved in a manufcript of the 
eleventh century, we are told how a " prophet," or vifionary, went to 
Heriger, archbifhop of Mayence from 912 to 926, and told him that 
he had been carried in a virion to the regions below, and defcribed them 
as a place furrounded by thick woods. It was the Teutonic notion of 
hell, and indeed of all fettlements of peoples -, and Heriger replied 
with a fneer that he would fend his herdfmen there with his lean fwine 
to fatten them. Each " mark," or land of a family or clan, in the 
early Teutonic fettlements, was furrounded by woodland, which was 
common to all members of the clan for fattening their fwine and 
hunting. The falfe dreamer added, that he was afterwards carried to 
heaven, where he faw Chrifi fitting at the table and eating. John the 
Baptift was butler, and ferved excellent wine round to the faints, who 
were the Lord's guefts. St. Peter was the chief cook. After fome 
remarks on the appointments to thefe two offices, archbilhop Heriger 
afked the informant how he was received in the heavenly hall, where he 
fat, and what he eat. He replied that he fat in a corner, and ftole from 
the cooks a piece of liver, which he eat, and then departed. Inftead of 
rewarding him for his information, Heriger took him on his own confeflion 


* This, and the metrical story next referred to, were printed in the " Altdeutsche 
Blatter," edited by Moriz Haupt and Heinrich Hoffmann, vol. i. pp. 390, 392, to 
whom I communicated them from a manuscript in the University Library at 

46 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

for the theft, and ordered him to be bound to a ftake and flogged, 
which, for the offence, was rather a light puniihment. 

Heriger ilium 
jujjit ad palum 
loris ligari, 
Jcopifque cedi, 
fermone duro 
hunc arguendo. 

Thefe lines will ferve as a fpecimen of the popular Latin verfe in which 
thefe monkifh after-dinner ftories were written 5 but the moft remarkable 
of thefe early parodies on religious fubjects, is one which may be defcribed 
as the fupper of the faints 3 its title is limply Ccena. It is falfely afcribed 
to St. Cyprian, who lived in the third century 5 but it is as old as the tenth 
century, as a copy was printed by profeffor Endlicher from a manufcript 
of that period at Vienna. It was fo popular, that it is found and known 
to have exifted in different forms in verfe and in profe. It is a sort of 
drollery, founded upon the wedding feaft at which the Saviour changed 
water into wine, though that miracle is not at all introduced into it. It 
was a great king of the Eaft, named Zoel, who held his nuptial feaft at 
Cana of Galilee. The perfonages invited are all fcriptural, beginning with 
Adam. Before the feaft, they wafh in the river Jordan, and the number 
of the guefts was fo great, that feats could not be provided for them, 
and they took their places as they could. Adam took the firft place, and 
feated himfelf in the middle of the affembly, and next to him Eve fat 
upon leaves (fuper folia), — fig-leaves, we may fuppofe. Cain fat on a 
plough, Abel on a milk-pail, Noah on an ark, Japhet on tiles, Abraham 
on a tree, Ifaac on an altar, Lot near the door, and fo with a long lift of 
others. Two were obliged to Hand — Paul, who bore it patiently, and 
Efau, who grumbled — while Job lamented bitterly becaufe he was obliged 
to fit on a dunghill. Mofes, and others, who came late, were obliged to 
find feats out of doors. When the king faw that all his guefts had arrived, 
he took them into his wardrobe, and there, in the fpirit of mediaeval 
generofity, diftributed to them dreffes, which had all fome burlefque 
allufion to their particular characters. Before they were allowed to fit 


in Literature and Art, 

down to the feaft, they were obliged to go through other ceremonies, 
which, as well as the eating, are defcribed in the fame ftyle of cari- 
cature. The wines, of which there was great variety, were ferved to 
the guefts with the fame allufions to their individual characters; but 
fome of them complained that they were badly mixed, although Jonah was 
the butler. In the fame manner are defcribed the proceedings which 
followed the dinner, the warning of hands, and the deflert, to the 
latter of which Adam contributed apples, Samfon honey ; while David 
played on the harp and Mary on the tabor; Judith led the round dance; 
Jubal played on the pfalter; Afael fung fongs, and Herodias acted the 
part of the dancing-girl : — 

Tunc Adam poma mmifirat, Samjon fwvi dulcia. 
David cytharum percujjit, et Maria tympana. 
Judith choreas ducebat, et Jubal pfalter ia. 
Afael metra canebat, faltabat Herodias. 

Mambres entertained the company with his magical performances ; and 
the other incidents of a mediaeval feftival followed, throughout which the 
fame tone of burlefque is continued ; and fo the ftory continues, to the 
end.* We fhall find thefe incipient forms of mediaeval comic literature 
largely developed as we go on. 

The period between antiquity and the middle ages was one of fuch 
great and general deftruction, that the gulf between ancient and mediaeval 
art feems to us greater and more abrupt than it really was. The want 
of monuments, no doubt, prevents our feeing the gradual change of one 
into the other, but neverthelefs enough of facts remain to convince us 
that it was not a fudden change. It is now indeed generally underftood 
that the knowledge and practice of the arts and manufactures of the 
Romans were handed onward from matter to pupil after the empire had 
fallen ; and this took place efpecially in the towns, fo that the workman- 

, {hip 

* The text of this singular composition, with a full account of the various forms 
in which it was published, will be found in M. du Mini's " Poesies Populaires 
Latines antetieures au douzieme siecle," p. 193. 

4 8 

Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

fhip which had been declining in character during the later periods of 
the empire, only continued in the courfe of degradation afterwards. 
Thus, in the nrft Chriflian edifices, the builders who were employed, or 
at leaft many of them, mull have been pagans, and they would follow 
their old models of ornamentation, introducing the fame grotefque 

No. 25. Saturn Devouring /us Child. 

figures, the fame mafks and monftrous faces, and even fometimes the 
fame fubje£ts from the old mythology, to which they had been accuftomed. 
It is to be obferved, too, that this kind of iconographical ornamentation 
had been encroaching more and more upon the old architectural purity 
during the latter ages of the empire, and that it was employed more 
profufely in the later works, from which this tafle was transferred to the 


in Literature and Art. 


ecclefiaftical and to the domeffic architecture of the middle ages. After 
the workmen themfelves had become Chriftians, they ftill found pagan 
emblems and figures in their models, and ftill went on imitating them, 
fometimes merely copying, and at others turning them to caricature or 
burlefque. And this tendency continued fo long, that, at a much later 
date, where there ftill exifted remains of Roman buildings, the mediaeval 
architects adopted them as models, and did not hefitate to copy the 
fculpture, although it might be evidently pagan in character. The 
accompanying cut (No. 25) reprefents a bracket in the church of Mont 
Majour, near Nifmes, built in the tenth century. The fubject is a 
monftrous head eating a child, and we can hardly doubt that it was really 
intended for a caricature on Saturn devouring one of his children. 

Sometimes the mediaeval fculptors miftook the emblematical deflgns 
of the Romans, and mifapplied them, and gave an allegorical meaning to 
that which was not intended to be emblematical or allegorical, until the 
fubjects themfelves became extremely confufed. They readily employed 
that clafs of parody of the ancients in which animals were reprefented 
performing the actions of men, and they had a great tafte for monfters 
of every defcription, efpecially thofe which were made up of portions of 
incongruous animals joined together, in contradiction to the precept of 
Horace : — 

Humano capiti cernj'icem piEior equinam 
Jungerefi velit, et varias inducer e plumas, 
Undique collath membris, ut turpter atrum 
Dejinet in pijcem mulier formofa Juperne j 
Spetlatum admijfi rijum ter.eatis, amici ? 

The mediaeval architects loved fuch reprefentations, always and in all 
parts, and examples are abundant. At Como, in Italy, there is a very 
ancient and remarkable church dedicated to San Fedele (Saint Fidelis) ; it 
has been conlidered to be of fo early a date as the fifth century. The 
fculptures that adorn the doorway, which is triangular-headed, are 
efpecially interefring. On one of thefe, reprefented in our cut No. 26, 
in a compartment to the left, appears a figure of an angel, holding in one 
hand a dwarf figure, probably intended for a child, by a lock of his hair, 

h * and 

Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque. 

5 l 

and with the other hand directing his attention to a feated figure in the 
compartment below. This latter figure has apparently the head of a 
fheep, and as the head is Unrounded with a large nimbus, and the right hand 
is held out in the attitude of benediction, it may be intended to reprefent 
the Lamb. This perfonage is feated on fomething which is difficult to make 
out, but which looks fomewhat like a crab-fifh. The boy in the com- 
partment above carries a large bafin in his arms. The adjoining compart- 
ment to the right contains the reprefentation of a conflict between a 
dragon, a winged ferpent, and a winged fox. On the oppofite fide of the 
door, two winged monfters are reprefented devouring a Iamb's head. I 
owe the drawing from which this and the preceding engraving were made 
to my friend Mr. John Robinfon, the architect, who made the fketches 
while travelling with the medal of the Royal Academy. Figures of 
dragons, as ornaments, were great favourites with the peoples of the 
Teutonic race ; they were creatures intimately wrapped up in their 
national mythology and romance, and they are found on all their artiftic 
monuments mingled together in grotefque forms and groups. When the 
Anglo-Saxons began to ornament their books, the dragon was continually 
introduced for ornamental borders and in forming initial letters. One of 
the latter, from an Anglo-Saxon manufcript of the tenth century (the 
well-known manufcript of Caedmon, where it is given as an initial V), is 
reprefented in our cut on the next page, No. 27. 

Caricature and burlefque are naturally intended to be heard and feen 
publicly, and would therefore be figured on fuch monuments as were 
molt expofed to popular gaze. Such was the cafe, in the earlier periods 
of the middle ages, chiefly with ecclefiallical buildings, which explains 
how they became the grand receptacles of this clafs of Art. We have 
few traces of what may be termed comic literature among our Anglo- 
Saxon forefathers, but this is fully explained by the circumftance that 
very little of the popular Anglo-Saxon literature has been preferved. In 
their feflive hours the Anglo-Saxons feem to have efpecially amufed 
themfelves in boafting of what they had done, and what they could do; 
and thefe boafts were perhaps often of a burlefque character, like the 
gahs of the French and Anglo-Norman romancers of a later date, or fo 



Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

extravagant as to produce laughter. The chieftains appear alfo to have 
encouraged men who could make jokes, and fatirife and caricature others ; 
for the company of fuch men feems to have been cherifhed, and they are 
not unfrequently introduced in the ftories. Such a perfonage, as I have 
remarked before, is Hunferth in Beowulf 3 fuch was the Sir Kay of the 
later Arthurian romances ; and fuch too was the Norman minftrel in the 
hiftory of Hereward, who amufed the Norman foldiers at their feafts by 
mimicry of the manners of their Anglo-Saxon opponents. The too 
perfonal fatire of thefe wits often led to quarrels, which ended in 

No. 27. Anglo-Saxon Dragons. 

fanguinary brawls. The Anglo-Saxon love of caricature is mown largely 
in their proper names, which were moflly fignificant of perfonal qualities 
their parents hoped they would poffefs ; and in thefe we remark the 
pronenefs of the Teutonic race, as well as the peoples of antiquity, to 
reprefent thefe qualities by the animals fuppofed to porTefs them, the 
animals moll popular being the wolf and the bear. But it is not to be 
expected that the hopes of the parents in giving the name would always 
be fulfilled, and it is not an uncommon thing to find individuals lofing 
their original names to receive in their place nicknames, or names which 


in Literature and Art. 


probably exprefled qualities they did poifefs, and which were given to 
them by their acquaintances. Thefe names,, though often not very 
complimentary, and even fometimes very much the contrary, completely 
fuperfeded the original name, and were even accepted by the individuals 
to whom they applied. The fecond names were indeed lb generally 
acknowledged, that they w r ere ufed in figning legal documents. An 
Anglo-Saxon abbefs of rank, whofe real name was Hrodwaru, but who 
was known univerfally by the name Bugga, the Bug, wrote this latter 
name in figning charters. We can hardly doubt that fuch a name was 
intended to afcribe to her qualities of a not agreeable character, and 
very different to thofe implied by the original name, which perhaps 
meant, a dweller in heaven. Another lady gained the name of the 
Crow. It is well known that furnames did not come into ufe till long 
after the Anglo-Saxon period, but appellatives, like thefe nicknames, 
were often added to the name for the purpofe of difiinction, or at 
pleafure, and thefe, too, being given by other people, were frequently 
fatirical. Thus, one Harold, for his fwiftnefs, was called Hare-foot ; a 
well-known Edith, for the elegant form of her neck, was calle'd Swan- 
neck 3 and a Thurcyl, for a form of his head, which can hardly have been 
called beautiful, was named Mare's-head. Among many other names, 
quite as fatirical as the lall-mentioned, we find Flat-nofe, the Ugly, 
Squint-eye, Hawk-nofe, &c. 

Of Anglo-Saxon fculpture we have little left, but we have a few 
illuminated manufcripts which prefent here and there an attempt at 
caricature, though they are rare. It would feem, however, that the two 
favourite fubjects of caricature among the Anglo-Saxons were the clergy 
and the evil one. We have abundant evidence that, from the eighth 
century downwards, neither the Anglo-Saxon clergy nor the Anglo- 
Saxon nuns were generally objects of much refpect among the people ; 
and their character and the manner of their lives Efficiently account for 
it. Perhaps, alfo, it was increafed by the hoftiliry between the old clergy 
and the new reformers of Dunftan's party, who would no doubt 
caricature each other. A manufcript pfalter, in the Univerfity Library, 
Cambridge (Ff. i, 23), of the Anglo-Saxon period, and apparently of the 



Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

tenth century, illuftrated with rather grotefque initial letters, furnifhes us 
with the figure of a jolly Anglo-Saxon monk, given in our cut No. 28, 
and which it is hardly neceffary to ftate reprefents the letter Q. As we 
proceed, we fhall fee the clergy continuing to furnifh a butt for the fhafts 
of fatire through all the middle ages. 

The inclination to give to the demons (the middle ages always looked 
upon them as innumerable) monftrous forms, which eanly ran into the 

No. 28. A Jolly Monk, 

grotefque, was natural, and the painter, indeed, prided himfelf on drawing 
them ugly j but he was no doubt influenced in fo generally caricaturing 
them, by mixing up this idea with thofe furnifhed by the popular fuper- 
ftitions of the Teutonic race, who believed in multitudes of fpirits, repre- 
fentatives of the ancient fatyrs, who were of a playfully malicious 
defcription, and went about plaguing mankind in a very droll manner, 
and fometimes appeared to them in equally droll forms. They were the 
Pucks and Robin Goodfellows of later times ; but the Chriflian miflionaries 
to the weft taught their converts to believe, and probably believed them- 
felves, that all thefe imaginary beings were real demons, who wandered 
over the earth for people's ruin and deftrudion. Thus the grotefque 
imagination of the converted people was introduced into the Chriftian 
lyftem of demonology. It is a part of the fubje6t to which we lhall 
return in our next chapter -, but I will here introduce two examples of 


in Literature and Art. 


the Anglo-Saxon demons. To explain the firft of thefe, it will be 
neceiTary to ftate that, according to the mediaeval notions, Satan, the arch 
demon, who had fallen from heaven for his rebellion againft the Almighty, 
was not a free agent who went about tempting mankind, but he was 
himfelf plunged in the abyfs, where he was held in bonds, and tormented 
by the demons who peopled the infernal regions, and alio iiTued thence 
to feek their prey upon God's neweft creation, the earth. The hiftory of 
Satan's fall, and the defcription of his pofition (No. 29), form the fubje6t 
of the earlier part of the Anglo-Saxon poetry afcribed to Caedmon, 
and it is one of the illuminations to the manufcript of Caedmon (which 
is now preferred at Oxford), which has furnifhed us with our cut, 

reprefenting Satan in his bonds. The fiend is here pictured bound to 
flakes, over what appears to be a gridiron, while one of the demons, 
riling out of a fiery furnace, and holding in his hand an inftrument of 
punifhment, feems to be exulting over him, and at the fame time urging 
on the troop of grotefque imps who are fwarming round and tormenting 
their victim. The next cut, No. 30, is alfo taken from an Anglo-Saxon 



Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

manuicript, preferved in the Britifh Mufeum (MS. Cotton., Tiberius, 
C. vi.), which belongs to the earlier half of the eleventh century, and 
contains a copy of the pfalter. It gives us the Anglo-Saxon notion of the 
demon under another form, equally characteriftic, wearing only a girdle 
of flames, but in this cafe the efpecial Angularity 
of the defign confifts in the eyes in the fiend's 

Another circumftance had no doubt an in- 
fluence on the mediaeval taite for grotefque and 
^v\ V \>^^f£/^' caricature — the natural rudenefs of early mediaeval 
art. The wn'ers of antiquity tell us of a remote 
period of Grecian art when it was neceffary to 
write under each figure of a picture the name of 
what it was intended to reprefent, in order to 
make the whole intelligible — " this is a horfe," 
"this is a man," "this is a tree." Without being 
quite fo rude as this, the early mediaeval artifts, 
through ignorance of perfpective, want of know- 
ledge of proportion, and of fkill in drawing, 
found great difficulty in reprefenting a fcene in 
which there was more than one figure, and in 
which it was neceffary to diflinguifh them from 
each other j and they were continually trying to 
help themfelves by adopting conventional forms 
or conventional pofitions, and by fometimes adding 
fymbols that did not exactly reprefent what they 
meant. The exaggeration in form confifted 
chiefly in giving an undue prominence to fome characteriftic feature, 
which anfwered the fame purpofe as the Anglo-Saxon nickname and dif- 
tinctive name, and which is, in fact, one of the firft principles of all cari- 
cature. Conventional pofitions partook much of the character of 
conventional forms, but gave ftill greater room for grotefque. Thus the 
very firft characteristics of mediaeval art implied the exiftence of caricature, 
and no doubt led to the tafte for the grotefque. The effect of this 


No. 30 Satan. 

in Literature and Art. 


influence is apparent everywhere, and in innumerable cafes ferious 
pictures of the graveft and moft important fubjecls are fimply and 
abfolutely caricatures. Anglo-Saxon art ran much into this ftyle, and 
is often very grotefque in character. The firfl. example we give 
(cut No. 31) is taken from one of the illuftrations to Alfric's Anglo- 

No. 31. The Temptation. 

Saxon veriion of the Pentateuch, in the profufely illuminated manufcript 
in the Britifh Mufeum (MS. Cotton., Claudius B iv.), which was written 
at the end of the tenth, or beginning of the eleventh, century. It 
reprefents the temptation and fall of man 3 and the fubje6t is treated, as 
will be feen, in a rather grotefque manner. Eve is evidently dictating 
to her hufband, who, in obeying her, fhows a mixture of eagernefs and 
trepidation Adam is no lefs evidently going to fwallow the apple whole, 
which is, perhaps, in accordance with the mediaeval legend, according to 
which the fruit ftuck in his throat. It is hardly necelfary to remark that 
the tree is entirely a conventional one ; and it would be difficult to 
imagine how it came to bear apples at all. The mediaeval artifls were 
extremely unfkilful in drawing trees ; to thefe they ufually gave the 
forms of cabbages, or fome fuch plants, of which the form was fimple, or 
often of a mere bunch of leaves. Our next example (cut No. 32) is alfo 

1 Anglo- 

Anglo-Saxon, and is furnifhed by the manufcript in the Britifh Mufeum 
already mentioned (MS. Cotton., Tiberius C vi.) It probably reprefents 
young David killing the lion, and is remarkable not only for the ftrange 
pofture and bad proportions of the man, but for the tranquillity of the 
animal and the exaggerated and violent action of its flayer. This is very 
commonly the cafe in the mediaeval drawings and fculptures, the artifts 
apparently poffefling far lefs fkill in reprefenting action in an animal than 
in man, and therefore more rarely attempting it. Thefe illuftrations are 

No. 32 David and the Lion. 

both taken from illuminated manufcripts. The two which follow are 
furnifhed by fculptures, and are of a rather later date than the preceding. 
The abbey of St. George of Bofcherville, in the diocefe of Auxerre (in 
Normandy), was founded by Ralph de Tancarville, one of the minifters 
of William the Conqueror, and therefore in the latter half of the eleventh 
century. A hiflory of this religious houfe was publilhed by a clever local 
antiquary — M. Achille Deville — from whofe work we take our cut No. 33, 

in Literature and Art. 


one of a few rude fculptures on the abbey church, which no doubt 
belonged to the original fabric. It is not difficult to recognife the fubject 
as Jofeph taking the Virgin Mary with her Child into Egypt ; but there 
is fomething exceedingly droll in the unintentional caricature of the 
faces, as well as in the whole defign. The Virgin Mary appears without 
a nimbus, while the nimbus of the Infant Jefus is made to look very like 
a bonnet. It may be remarked that this fubje<5t of the flight into Egypt 
is by no means an uncommon 'one in mediaeval art j and a drawing of 

No. 33. The Flight into Egypt. 

the fame fubje6t, copied in my " Hiftory of Domeftic Manners and 
Sentiments" (p. 115), prefents a remarkable illuftration of the contrail 
of the lkill of a Norman fculptor and of an almoft contemporary Anglo- 
Norman illuminator. Our cut alfo furnifhes us with evidence of the 
error of the old opinion that ladies rode aftride in the middle ages. Even 
one, who by his ftyle of art muft have been an obfcure local carver on 
(tone, when he reprefented a female on horfeback, placed her. in the 
polition which has always been confidered fui table to the fex. 



Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

For the drawing of the other fculpture to which I allude, I am 
indebted to Mr. Robinfon. It is one of the fubje&s carved on the 
fagade of the church of St. Gilles, near Nifmes, and is a work of the 
twelfth century. It appears to reprefent the young David flaying 
the giant Goliah, the latter fully armed in fcale armour, and with fhield 

No. 34. David and Goliah. 

and fpear, like a Norman knight ; while to David the artift has given a 
figure which is feminine in its forms. What we might take at firft fight 
for a bafket of apples, appears to be meant for a fupply of flones for the 
fling which the young hero carries fufpended from his neck. He has 
flain the giant with one of thefe, and is cutting off' his head with his own 

in Literature and Art. 6 1 







AS I have already ftated in the laft chapter, there can be no doubt that 
the whole fyftern of the demonology of the middle ages was derived 
from the older pagan mythology. The demons of the monkifh legends 
were fimply the elves and hobgoblins of our forefathers, who haunted 
woods, and fields, and waters, and delighted in mifleading or plaguing 
mankind, though their mifchief was ufuallyof a rather mirthful character. 
They were reprefented in claffical mythology by the fauns and fatyrs, 
who had, as we have feen, much to do with the birth of comic literature 
among the Greeks and Romans ; but thefe Teutonic elves were more 
ubiquitous than the fatyrs, as they even haunted men's houfes, and played 
tricks, not only of a mifchievous, but of a very familiar character. The 
Chriftian clergy did not look upon the perfonages of the popular fuper- 
ftitions as fabulous beings, but they taught that they were all diabolical, 
and that they were fo many agents of the evil one, conftantly employed 
in enticing and entrapping mankind. Hence, in the mediaeval legends, 
we frequently find demons prefenting themfelves under ludicrous forms 
or in ludicrous fituations ; or performing acts, fuch as eating and drinking, 
which are not in accordance with their real character; or at times even 
letting themfelves be outwitted or entrapped by mortals in a very 
undignified manner. Although they affumed any form they pleafed, 
their natural form was remarkable chiefly for being extremely ugly; one 
of them, which appeared in a wild wood, is defcribed by Giraldus 
Cambrenfis, who wrote at the end of the twelfth century,, as being hairy, 


62 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

lhaggy, and rough, and monftroufly deformed.* According to a mediaeval 
ftory, which was told in different forms, a great man's cellar was once 
haunted by thefe demons, who drank all his wine, while the owner was 
totally at a lofs to account for its rapid difappearance. After many 
unfuccefsful attempts to difcover the depredators, fome one, probably 
fufpe&ing the truth, fuggefted that he Ihould mark one of the barrels 
with holy water, and next morning a demon, much refembling the 
defcription given by Giraldus, was found ftuck faft to the barrel. It is 
told alio of Edward the Confeffor, that he once went to fee the tribute 

No. 35. The Demon of the Treafure. 

called the Danegeld, and it was mown to him all packed up in great 
barrels ready to be fent away — for this appears to have been the ufual 
mode of tranfporting large quantities of money. The faintly king had 
the faculty of being able to fee fpiritual beings — a fort of fpiritual fecond- 

* " Formam quandam villosam, hispidam, et hirsutam, adeoque enormiter 
deformem. 11 Girald. Camb., Itiner. Camb,, lib. i. c. 5. 

in Literature and Art. 63 

fight — and he beheld feated on the largeft barrel, a devil, who was " black 
and hideous." 

Vit un deable Jaer defus 

Le trefor, noir et hidus. — Life of S. Edward, 1. 944. 

An early illuminator, in a manufcript preferved in the library of Trinity 
College, Cambridge (MS. Trin. Col., B x. 2), has left us a pictorial 
reprefentation of this fcene, from which I copy his notion of the form of 
the demon in cut No. 25- The general idea is evidently taken from the 
figure of the goat, and the relationfhip between the demon and the 
claffical fatyr is very evident. 

Uglinefs was an effential chara&eriftic of the demons, and, moreover, 
their features have ufually a mirthful caff, as though they greatly enjoyed 
their occupation. There is a mediaeval (lory of a young monk, who was 
facriftan to an abbey, and had the directions of the building and orna- 
mentation. The carvers of Hone were making admirable reprefentations 
of hell and paradife, in the former of which the demons " feemed to take 
great delight in well tormenting their victims " — 

Qui par femblant fe delitoit 
En ce que blen les tormentolt. 

The facriftan, who watched the fculptors every day, was at laft moved by 
pious zeal to try and imitate them, and he fet to work to make a devil 
himfelf, with fuch fuccefs, that his fiend was fo black and ugly that 
nobody could look at it without terror. 

Tant qu'un deable a fere emprijl ; 
Si i miji fa poine et Ja cure, 
Que la forme fu ft ojcure 
Et Ji laide, que cil doutaji 
Que entre deus oil% Vefgardaf. 

The facriftan, encouraged by his fuccefs — for it rauft be underftood that 
his art w r as a fudden infpiration (as he had not been an artifl before) — 
continued his work till it was completed, and then " it was fo horrible 
and fo ugly, that all who faw it affirmed upon their oaths that they had 


64 Hi ft or y of Caricature and Grote/que 

never feen fo ugly a figure either in fculpture or in painting, or one which 
had fo repulfive an appearance, or a devil which was a better likenefs 
than the one this monk had made for them " — 

Si horribles fu etjt le% y 

Que trejlowz, eels que le -veoient 

Seur leur jerement afermoient 

Conques mesji laide figure^ 

Ne en taille ne en peinture, 

N^avoient a nul jor veue, 

Qui Ji eujl laide ve'ue, 

Ne de'able tniex contrefet . 

Que cil moines leur a-voit fet. — Meon's Fabliaux, torn. ii. p. 414. 

The demon himfelf now took offence at the affront which had been put 
upon him, and appearing the night following to the facriftan, reproached 
him with having made him fo ugly, and enjoined him to break the 
fculpture, and execute anothei reprefenting him better looking, on pain 
of very fevere puniihment ; but, although this vifit was repeated thrice, 
the pious monk refufed to comply. The evil one now began to work in 
another way, and, by his cunning, he drew the facriftan into a difgraceful 
amour with a lady of the neighbourhood, and they plotted not only to 
elope together by night, but to rob the monaftery of its treafure, which 
was of courfe in the keeping of the facriftan. They were difcovered, and 
caught in their flight, laden with the treafure, and the unfaithful facriftan 
was thrown into prifon. The fiend now appeared to him, and promifed 
to clear him out of all his trouble on the mere condition that he mould 
break his ugly ftatue, and make another reprefenting him as looking 
handfome — a bargain to which the facriftan acceded without further 
hefitation. It would thus appear that the demons did not like to be 
reprefented ugly. In this cafe, the fiend immediately took the form and 
place of the facriftan, while the latter went to his bed as if nothing had 
happened. When the other monks found him there next morning, and 
heard him difclaim all knowledge of the robbery or of the prifon, they 
hurried to the latter place, and found the devil in chains, who, when they 
attempted to exorcife him, behaved in a very turbulent manner, and 


in Literature and Art. 


difappeared from their fight. The monks believed that it was all a 
deception of the evil one, while the facriftan, who was not inclined to 
brave his difpleafure a fecond time, performed faithfully his part of the 
contract, and made a devil who did not look ugly. In another verfion of 
the ftory, however, it ends differently. After the third warning, the 
monk went in defiance of the devil, and made his picture uglier than 
ever j in revenge for which the demon came unexpectedly and broke the 
ladder on which he was mounted at his work, whereby the monk would 
undoubtedly have been killed. But the Virgin, to whom he was much 
devoted, came to his affiflance, and, feizing him with her hand, and 
holding him in the air, difappointed the devil of his purpofe. It is this 
latter denouement which is reprefented in the cut No. $6, taken from the 

No. 36. The Pious Sculptor. 

celebrated manufcript in the Britifli Mufeum known as " Queen Mary's 
Pfalter" (MS. Reg. 2 B vii.). The two demons employed here prefent, 
well defined, the air of mirthful jollity which was evidently derived from 
the popular hobgoblins. 

There was another popular flory, which alfo was told under feveral 

K- forms. 

forms. The old Norman hiftorians tell it of their duke Richard Sanf- 
Peur. There was a monk of the abbey of St. Ouen, who alfo held the 
office of facriftan, but, neglecting the duties of his poflrion, entered into 
an intrigue with a lady who dwelt in the neighbourhood, and was accuf- 
tomed at night to leave the abbey fecretly, and repair to her. His place 
as facriftan enabled him thus to leave the houfe unknown to the other 
brethren. On his way, he had to pafs the little river Robec, by means 
of a plank or wooden bridge, and one night the demons, who had been 
watching him on his errand of fin, caught him on the bridge, and threw 
him over into the water, where he was drowned. One devil feized his 
foul, and would have carried it away, but an angel came to claim him on 
account of his good a6tions, and the difpute ran fo high, that duke 
Richard, whofe piety was as great as his courage, was called in to decide 
it. The fame manufcript from which our laft cut was taken has furnifhed 
our cut No. 37, which reprefents two demons tripping up the monk, and 

No. 37. The Monk's Dijafter. 

throwing him very unceremonioufly into the river. The body of one of 
the demons here affumes the form of an animal, inftead of taking, 
like the other, that of a man, and he is, moreover, furnifhed with a 
dragon's wings. There was one verflon of this ftory, in which it found 
its place among the legends of the Virgin Mary, inftead of thofe of duke 
Richard. The monk, in fpite of his failings, had been a conftant 


in Literature and Art. 

6 7 

worfhipper of the Virgin, and, as he was falling from the bridge into the 
river, fhe flepped forward to protect him from his perfecutors, and taking 
hold of him with her hand, faved him from death. One of the compart- 
ments of the rather early wall-paintings in Winchefter Cathedral reprefents 
the fcene according to this verfion of the ftory, and is copied in our cut 
No. 38. The fiends here take more fantaftic fhapes than we have 

The Demons Dijaf pointed. 

previoufly feen given to them. They remind us already of the infinitely 
varied grotefque forms which the painters of the age of the RenaifTance 
crowded together in fuch fubje&s as " The Temptation of St. Anthony." 
In fa6t these ftrange notions of the forms of the demons were not only 
preferved through the whole period of the middle ages, but are ftill 
hardly extin6t. They appear in almoft exaggerated forms in the illuftrations 
to books of a popular religious character which appeared in the flrft ages 
of printing. I may quote, as an example, one of the cuts of an early and 
very rare block-book, entitled the Ars Moriendi, or "Art of Dying," or, 
in a fecond title, De Tentationibus Morientium, on the temptations to 
which dying men are expofed. The fcene, of which a part is given in 



Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

the annexed cut (Xo. 39), is in the room of the dying man,, whole bed is fur- 
rounded by three demons, who are come to tempt him, while his relatives 
of both fexes are looking on quite unconfcious of their prefence. The 
figures of thefe demons are particularly grotefque, and their ugly features 
betray a degree of vulgar cunning which adds not a little to this effecT.. 
The one leaning over the dying man fuggefh to him the words exprefTed 
in the label ifluing from his mouth, Provideas amicis, " provide for your 
friends j" while the one whofe head appears to the left whifpers to hirm 

A Medieval Death- bed. 

Yntende thefauro, " think of your treafure." The dying man feems 
grievouily perplexed with the various thoughts thus fuggefted to him. 

Why did the mediseval Chriftians think it necelTary to make the devils 
black and ugly ? The rirft reply to this queftion which prefents itfelf is, 
that the characterises intended to be reprefented were the blacknefs and 
uglmefs of fin. This, however, is only partially the explanation of the 
fact : for there can be no doubt that the notion was a popular one, and 
that it had previoufly exifted in the popular mythology 3 and, as has been 
already remarked, the uglinefs exhibited by them is a vulgar, mirthful 
uglinefs, which makes you laugh inftead of ihudder. Another fcene, 


in Literature and Art. 

6 9 

from the interefting drawings at the foot of the pages in " Queen Mary's 
Pfalter," is given in our cut No. 40. It reprefents that moft popular 
of mediaeval pictures, and, at the fame time, moft remarkable of 
literal interpretations, hell mouth. The entrance to the infernal regions 
was always reprefented pictorially as the mouth of a monftrous animal, 
where the demons appeared leaving and returning. Here they are feen 
bringing the finful fouls to their laft deftinaticn, and it cannot be denied 
that they are doing the work right merrily and jovially. In our cut 

No. 40. Condemned Souls carried to their Place of Puni/bment. 

No. 41, from the manufcript in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, 
which furnifhed a former fubje6t, three demons, who appear to be the 
guardians of the entrance to the regions below — for it is upon the brow 
above the monftrous mouth that they are ftanding — prefent varieties of 
the diabolical form. The one in the middle is the moft remarkable, for 
he has wings not only on his ihoulders, but alfo on his knees and heels. 
All three have horns j in fact, the three fpecial chara&eriftics of mediaeval 
demons were horns, hoofs — or, at leaft, the feet of beafts, — and tails, 
which fufficiently indicate the fource from which the popular notions of 
thefe beings were derived. In the cathedral of Treves, there is a mural 
painting by William of Cologne, a painter of the fifteenth- century, which 



Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

reprefents the entrance to the fhades, the monftrous mouth, with its 
keepers, in ftill more grotefque forms. Our cut No. 42 gives but a 
fmall portion of this picture, in which the porter of the regions of punifh- 
ment is fitting aftride the fnout of the monftrous mouth, and is founding 
with a trumpet what may be fuppofed to be the call for thofe who are 
condemned. Another minftrel of the fame ftamp, fpurred, though not 
booted, fits aftride the tube of the trumpet, playing on the bagpipes j and 
the found which iflues from the former inflrument is reprefented by a 
holt of fmaller imps who are fcattering themfelves about. 

It muft not be fuppofed that, in fubjects like thefe, the drollery of the 
fcene was accidental ; but, on the contrary, the mediaeval artifts and 

No. 41. The Guardians of Hell Mouth. 

popular writers gave them this character purpofely. The demons and 
the executioners — the latter of whom were called in Latin tor tores, and 
in popular old Englifh phrafeology the " tormentours " — were the comic 
characters of the time, and the fcenes in the old myfteries or religious 
plays in which they were introduced were the comic fcenes, or farce, of 


in Literature and Art. 


the piece. The love of burlefque and caricature was., indeed, fo deeply 
planted in the popular mind, that it was found neceffary to introduce 
them even in pious works, in which fuch fcenes as the flaughter of the 
innocents, where the " knights" and the women abufed each other in 
vulgar language, the treatment of Chrift at the time of His trial, fome 
parts of the fcene of the crucifixion, and the day of judgment, were 
eflentially comic. The laft of thefe fubjecfs, efpecially, was a fcene of 
mirth, becaufe it often confiiled throughout of a coarfe fatire on the vices 

No 42. The Trumpeter of Evil. 

of the age, efpecially on thofe which were molt obnoxious to the populace, 
fuch as the pride and vanity of the higher ranks, and the extortions and 
frauds of ufurers, bakers, taverners, and others. In the play of " Juditium," 
or the day of doom, in the " Towneley Myfteries," one of the earlieft 
collections of myfteries in the Englifh language, the whole converfation 
among the demons is exactly of that joking kind which we might expect 
from their countenances in the pictures. When one of them appears 
carrying a bag full of different offences, another, his companion, is fo 
joyful at this circumftance, that he fays it makes him laugh till he is out 


72 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

of breath, or, in other words, till he is ready to burft ; and, while afking 
if anger be not among the lins he had collected, propofes to treat him 
with to drink — 

Primus dgemon. Peafze, I pray the, be fiille j I laghe that I kyn ke. 
Is oghte ire in thi bille? and then falle thou drynke. — Tovraeley Mysteries, p. 309. 

And in the continuation of the converfation, one telling of the events 
which had preceded the announcement of Doomfday says, rather jeeringly, 
and fomewhat exultingly, " Souls came fo thick now of late to hell, that 
our porter at hell gate is ever held fo clofe at work, up early and down 
late, that he never refts " — 

Saules cam Jo thyk novo late unto helle, 

/Is ever 
Oure porter at helle gate 
Is halden Jo jlrate, 
Up erly and doivne late, 

He ryjlys never. — lb., p. 314. 

With fuch popular notions on the fubject, we have no reafon to be 
furprifed that the artifts of the middle ages frequently chofe the figures of 
demons as objects on which to exercife their fkill in burlefque and carica- 
ture, that they often introduced grotefque figures of their heads and bodies 
in the fculptured ornamentation of building, and that they prefented them 
in ludicrous fituations and attitudes in their pictures. They are often 
brought in as fecondary actors in a picture in a very lingular manner, of 
which an excellent example is furnifhed by the beautifully illuminated 
manufcript known as " Queen Mary's Pfalter," which is copied in our cut 
No. 43. Nothing is more certain than that in this inflance the intention 
of the artift was perfectly ferious. Eve, under the influence of a rather 
Angularly formed ferpent, having the head of a beautiful woman and the 
body of a dragon, is plucking the apples and offering them to Adam, who 
is preparing to eat one, with evident hefitation and reluctance. But three 
demons, downright hobgoblins, appear as fecondary actors in the fcene, 
who exercife an influence upon the principals. One is patting Eve on 



Literature and Art, 


the fhoulder, with an air of approval and encouragement, while a fecond, 
with wings, is urging on Adam, and apparently laughing at his appre- 
henfions ; and a third, in a very ludicrous manner, is preventing him from 
drawing back from the trial. 

In all the delineations of demons we have yet feen. the ludicrous is 
the fpirit which chiefly predominates, and in no one inftance have we 
had a figure which is really demoniacal. The devils are droll but not 
frightful ; they provoke laughter, or at leaft excite a fmile, but they 

No. 43. The Fall of Man. 

create no horror. Indeed, they torment their victims fo good-humouredly, 
that we hardly feel for them. There is, however, one well-known 
inftance in which the mediaeval artift has fhown himfelf fully fuccefsful 
in reprefenting the features of the fpirit of evil. On the parapet of the 
external gallery of the cathedral church of Notre Dame in Paris, there is 
a figure in ftone, of the ordinary fiature of a man, reprefenting the demon, 
apparently looking with fatisfaction upon the inhabitants of the city as 
they were everywhere indulging in fin and wickednefs. We give a 
iketch of this figure in our cut Xo, 44. The unmixed evil — horrible in 

l its 

74 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

its expreffion in this countenance — is marvelloully portrayed. It is an 
abfolute Mephiftophiles, carrying in his features a ftrange mixture of 
hateful qualities — malice, pride, envy — in fact, all the deadly fins combined 
in one diabolical whole. 

No. 44. The Spirit of Evil. 

in Literature and Art. 








THE people of the middle ages appear to have been great admirers 
of animals, to have obferved clofely their various characters and 
peculiarities, and to have been fond 01 domefticating them. They foon 
began to employ their peculiarities as means of fatiriling and caricaturing 
mankind j and among the literature bequeathed to them by the Romans, 
they received no book more eagerly than the "Fables of iEfop," and 
the other collections of fables which were publilhed under the empire. 
We find no traces of fables among the original literature of the German 
race ; but the tribes who took poffeffion of the Roman provinces no 
fooner became acquainted with the fables of the ancients, than they 
began to imitate them, and flories in which animals acted the part of 
men were multiplied immenfely, and became a very important branch 
of mediaeval fiction. 

Among the Teutonic peoples efpecially, thefe fables often affumed very 
grotefque forms, and the fatire they convey is very amufing. One of the 
earlieft of thefe collections of original fables was compofed by an Engliih 
ecclefiaftic named Odo de Cirington, who lived in the time of Henry II. 
and Richard I. In Odo's fables, we find the animals figuring under the 
fame popular names by which they were afterwards fo well known, fuch 
as Reynard for the fox, Ifengrin for the wolf, Teburg for the cat, and 
the like. Thus the fubject of one of them is " Ifengrin made Monk " 
(de Ifengrino monacho). " Once," we are told, " Ifengrin dehred to be a 
monk. By dint of fervent fupplications, he obtained the confent of the 

. chapter, 

J 6 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefaue 

chapter, and received the tonfure, the cowl, and the other infignia of 
monachifm. At length they put him to fchool, and he was to learn the 
' Paternofter,' but he always replied, ' lamb ' (agnus) or ' ram ' (aries). 
The monks taught him that he ought to look upon the crucifix and upon 
the facrament, but he ever directed his eyes to the lambs and rams." The 
fable is droll enough, but the moral, or application is mil more grotefque. 
" Such is the conduct of many of the monks, whofe only cry is ' aries,' 
that is, good wine, and who have their eyes always fixed on fat nefh and 
their platter ; whence the faying in Englilh — 

They thou the vulf hore Though thou the hoary nuolf 

hod to prefte^ conjecrate to a prieft, 

they thou him to Jkole fette though thou put him to fchool 

falmes to lerne, to learn Pfalms, 

hevere bet hife geres ever are his ears turned 

to the grove grew" to the green grove. 

Thefe lines are in the alliterative verfe of the Anglo-Saxons, and fhow 
that fuch fables had already found their place in the popular poetry of the 
Englifh people. Another of thefe fables is entitled " Of the Beetle 
(fcralo) and his Wife." " A beetle, flying through the land, paffed 
among mofh beautiful blooming trees, through orchards and among rofes 
and lilies, in the moil lovely places, and at length threw himfelf upon a 
dunghill among the dung of horfes, and found there his wife, who afked 
him whence he came. And the beetle faid, ' I have flown all round the 
earth and through it ; I have feen the flowers of almonds, and lilies, and 
rofes, but I have feen no place fo pleafant as this,' pointing to the dung- 
hill." The application is equally droll with the former and equally un- 
complimentary to the religious part of the community. Odo de Cirington 
tells us that, " Thus many of the clergy, monks, and laymen liften to the 
lives of the fathers, pafs among the lilies of the virgins, among the rofes 
of the martyrs, and among the violets of the confeffors, yet nothing ever 
appears fo pleafant and agreeable as a ftrumpet, or the tavern, or a ringing 
party, though it is but a funking dunghill and congregation of finners." 

Popular fculpture and painting were but the tranflation of popular 
literature, and nothing was more common to reprefent, in pictures and 


in Literature and Art. 77 

carvings, than individual men under the forms of the animals who difplayed 
fimilar characters or fimilar propenfities. Cunning, treachery, and 
intrigue were the prevailing vices of the middle ages, and they were thofe 
alfo of the fox, who hence became a favourite character in fatire. The 
victory of craft over force always provoked mirth. The fabulifts, or, we 
fhould perhaps rather fay, the fatirifts, foon began to extend their canvas 
and enlarge their picture, and, inftead of tingle examples of fraud or 
injuftice, they introduced a variety of characters, not only foxes, but 
wolves, and fheep, and bears, with birds alfo, as the eagle, the cock, and 
the crow, and mixed them up together in long narratives, which thus 
formed general fatires on the vices of contemporary fociety. In this 
manner originated the celebrated romance of " Reynard the Fox," which 
in various forms, from the twelfth century to the eighteenth, has enjoyed 
a popularity which was granted probably to no other book. The plot of 
this remarkable fatire turns chiefly on the long ftruggle between the 
brute force of Ifengrin the Wolf, poffefTed only with a fmali amount of 
intelligence, which is eafily deceived — under which character is prefented 
the powerful feudal baron — and the craftinefs of Reynard the Fox, who 
reprefents the intelligent portion of fociety, which had to hold its ground 
by its wits, and thefe were continually abufed to evil purpofes. Reynard 
is fwayed by a conftant impulfe to deceive and victimife everybody, 
whether friends or enemies, but efpecially his uncle Ifengrin. It was 
fomewhat the relationfhip between the ecclefiaftical and baronial 
ariftocracy. Reynard was educated in the fchools, and intended for 
the clerical order ; and at different times he is reprefented as acting 
under the difguife of a prieft, of a monk, of a pilgrim, or even of a 
prelate of the church. Though frequently reduced to the greateft 
ftraits by the power of Ifengrin, Reynard has generally the better of it 
in the end : he robs and defrauds Ifengrin continually, outrages his 
wife, who is half in alliance with him, and draws him into all forts of 
dangers and fufferings, for which the latter never fucceeds in obtaining 
juftice. The old fculptors and artifts appear to have preferred exhibiting 
Reynard in his ecclefiaftical difguifes, and in thefe he appears often in the 
ornamentation of mediaeval architectural fculpture, in wood-carvings, in 



Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefaue 

the illuminations of manufcripts, and in other objecls of art. The popular 
feeling againft the clergy was itrong in the middle ages, and no caricature 
was received with more favour than thofe which expofed the immorality 
or difhonefty of a monk or a prieft. Our cut No. 45 is taken from a 

fculpture in the church of Chriftchurch, in 
Hampihire, for the drawing of which I am 
indebted to my friend, Mr. Llewellynn 
Jewitt. It reprefents Reynard in the pulpit 
preaching -, behind, or rather perhaps befide 
him, a diminutive cock ftands upon a ftool 
— in modern times we fhould be inclined 
to fay he was acting as clerk. Reynard's 
coftume conMs merely of the ecclefiatlical 
hood or cowl. Such fubjects are frequently 
found on the carved feats, or mifereres, in 
the ftalls of the old cathedrals and collegiate 
churches. The painted glafs of the great 
window of the north crofs-aifle of St. Martin's 
church in Leicefter, which was deftroyed in 
the laft century, reprefented the fox, in the 
character of an ecclefiaftic, preaching to a 
congregation of geefe, and addreffing them in the words- — Teftis eft mihi 
Deus, quam cupiam vos omnes vifceribus meis (God is witnefs, how I 
defire you all in my bowels), a parody on the words of the New 
Teflament.* Our cut No. 46 is taken from one of the mifereres in the 
church of St. Mary, at Beverley, in Yorkfhire. Two foxes are reprefented 
in the difguife of ecclefialtics, each furnifhed with a paftoral ftaff, and 
they appear to be receiving inftructions from a prelate or perfonage of 
rank — perhaps they are undertaking a pilgrimage of penance. But their 
fincerity is rendered fomewhat doubtful by the geefe concealed in their 


No. 45. The Fox in the Pulpit. 

* An engraving of thi«= scene, modernised in character, is given in Nichols's 
Leicestershire, 11 vol. i. plate 43. 

in Literature and Art. 


hoods. In one of the incidents of the romance of Reynard, the hero 
enters a monaftery and becomes a monk, in order to efcape the wrath of 

No. 46. Ecclejiajiical Sincerity. 

King Noble, the lion. For fome time he made an outward lhow of 

fanctity and felf-privation, but unknown to his brethren he fecretly helped 

himfelf freely to the good things of the 

monaftery. One day he obferved, with 

longing lips, a meffenger who brought 

four fat capons as a prefent from a lay 

neighbour to the abbot. That night, 

when all the monks had retired to reft, 

Reynard obtained admiflion to the larder, 

regaled himfelf with one of the capons, 

and as foon as he had eaten it, trufled 

the three others on his back, efcaped 

fecretly from the abbey, and, throwing 

away his monaftic garment, hurried 

home with his prey. We might almoft 

imagine our cut No. 47, taken from one 

of the flails of the church of Nantwich, 

in Chelhire, to have been intended to No - 47- Reynard turned Monk. 

reprefent this incident, or, at leafl, a fimilar one. Our next cut, No. 48, 


Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

is taken from a ftall in the church of Bofton, in Lincolnfhire. A prelate, 
equally falfe, is feated in his chair, with a mitre on his head, and the 
paftoral ftaff in his right hand. His flock are reprefented by a cock and 
hens, the former of which he holds fecurely with his right hand, while 
he appears to be preaching to them. 

Another mediaeval fculpture has furnifhed events for a rather curious 
hiftory, at the fame time that it is a good illuftration of our fubjecl:. 
Odo de Cirington, the fabulift, tells us how, one day, the wolf died, and 
the lion called the animals together to celebrate his exequies. The hare 
carried the holy water, hedgehogs bore the candles, the goats rang the 

H^^Jlis ® pjh 


J ^^ 

1 1 





: vWjf'''M 


f jr3^3bte. 

^SH^a-ig^^ L .' 'Wlif\> 

i m I 

nlili^ll? ■ 





m>^^>^y I 


No 48. The Prelate and his Flock. 

bells, the moles dug the grave, the foxes carried the corpfe on the bier. 
Berengarius, the bear, celebrated mafs, the ox read the gofpel, and the 
afs the epiflle. When the mafs was concluded, and Ifengrin buried, the 
animals made a fplendid feaft out of his goods, and wiihed for fuch 
another funeral. Our fatirical ecclefiaftic makes an application of this 
ftory which tells little to the credit of the monks of his time. " So it 
frequently happens," he fays, " that when fome rich man, an extortionift 
or a ufurer, dies, the abbot or prior of a convent of beafts, i.e. of men 
living like beafts, caufes them to aflemble. For it commonly happens 
that in a great convent of black or white monks (Benedictines or 


in Literature and Art, 

Auguftinians) there are none but beafts — lions by their pride, foxes by 
their craftinefs, bears by their voracity, {linking goats by their incontinence, 
affes by their fluggifhnefs, hedgehogs by their afperity, hares by their 
timidity, becaufe they were cowardly where there was no fear, and oxen 
by their laborious cultivation of their land." * 

A fcene clofely refembling that here defcribed by Odo, differing only 
in the diftribution of the characters, was tranflated from fome fuch 
written ftory into the pictorial language of the ancient fculptured ornamen- 
tation of Strafburg Cathedral, where it formed, apparently, two fides of 
the capital or entablature of a column near the chancel. The deceafed in 
this picture appears to be a fox, which was probably the animal intended 
to be reprefented in the original, although, in the copy of it preferved, it 
looks more like a fquirrel. The bier is carried by the goat and the boar, 

No. 49. The Funeral of the Fcxr. 

while a little dog underneath is taking liberties with the tail of the latter. 
Immediately before the bier, the hare carries the lighted taper, preceded 
by the wolf, who carries the crofs, and the bear, who holds in one hand 
the holy-water velfel and in the other the afperfoir. This forms the 
firft divifion of the fubje6t, and is reprefented in our cut No. 49. In the 


* The Latin text of this and some others of the fables of Odo de Cirington 
will be found in my " Selection of Latin Stories/' pp, 5°-5 2 > 55-5 8 > and 80. 



Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

next divifion (cut No. 50), the flag is reprefented celebrating mafs, and 
the afs reads the Gofpel from a book which the cat fupports with 
its head. 

This curious fculpture is faid to have been of the thirteenth century. 

No. 50. The Majsfor the Fox. 

In the fifteenth century it attracted the attention of the reformers, who 
looked upon it as an ancient proteft againfl the corruptions of the mafs, 
and one of the more diftinguifhed of them, John Fifchart, had it copied 
and engraved on wood, and publifhed it about the year 1580, with fome 
verfes of his own, in which it was interpreted as a fatire upon the papacy. 
This publication gave fuch dire offence to the ecclefiafiical authorities of 
Strafburg, that the Lutheran bookfeller who had ventured to publifh it, 
was compelled to make a public apology in the church, and the wood- 
engraving and all the impreflions were feized and burnt by the common 
hangman. A. few years later, however, in 1608, another engraving was 
made, and publifhed in a large folio with Fifchart's verfes ; and it is from 
the diminifhed copy of this fecond edition — given in Flogel's "Gefchichte 
des Komifches Literatur " — that our cuts are taken. The original 
fculpture was fb'll more unfortunate. Its publication and explanation by 
Fifchart was the caufe of no little fcandal among the Catholics, who tried 
to retort upon their opponents by afferting that the figures in this funeral 
celebration were intended to reprefent the ignorance of the Proteftant 
preachers; and the fculpture in the church continued to be regarded 
by the ecclefiafiical authorities with difTatisfaction until the year 1685, 



Literature and Art. 


A 7 *. 51. The Fox 

when, to take away all further ground of fcandal, it was entirely 

Reynard's mediaeval celebrity dates certainly from a rather early period. 
Montflaucon has given an alphabet of ornamental initial letters, formed 
chiefly of figures of men and animals, from a manufcript which he 
afcribes to the ninth century, among which is the one 
copied in our cut No. $l, reprefenting a fox walking 
upon his hind legs, and carrying two fmall cocks, 
fufpended at the ends cf a crofs ftaff. It is hardly 
necefTary to fay that this group forms the letter T. 
Long before this, the Frankifh hiflorian Fredegarius, 
who wrote about the middle of the feventh century, 
introduces a fable in which the fox figures at the court 
of the lion. The fame fable is repeated by a monkifh 
writer of Bavaria, named Fromond, who flourifhed in 
the tenth century, and by another named Aimoinus, 
who lived about the year 1,000. At length, in the twelfth century, 
Guibert de Nogent, who died about the year 1124, and who has left us 
his autobiography (de Vita fua), relates an anecdote in that work, in 
explanation of which he tells us that the wolf was then popularly 
deflgnated by the name of Kengrin ; and in the fables of Odo, as we 
have already feen, this name is commonly given to the wolf, Reynard to 
the fox, Teburg to the cat, and fo on with the others. This only fhows 
that in the fables of the twelfth century the various animals were known 
by thefe names, but it does not prove that what we know as the romance 
of Reynard exifted. Jacob Grimm argued from the derivation and forms 
of thefe names, that the fables themfelves, and the romance, originated 
with the Teutonic peoples, and were indigenous to them ; but his reafons 
appear to me to be more fpecious than concluflve, and I certainly lean to 
the opinion of my friend Paulin Paris, that the romance of Reynard was 
native of France,* and that it was partly founded upon old Latin legends, 


* See the dissertation by M. Paulin Paris, published in his nice popular modern 
abridgment of the French romance, published in 1861, under the title " Les Aven- 

84 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

perhaps poems. Its character is altogether feudal, and it is ftrictly a 
picture of fociety, in France primarily, and fecondly in England and the 
other nations of feudalifm, in the twelfth century. The earlieft form in 
which this romance is known is in the French poem — or rather poems, 
for it confifts of feveral branches or continuations — and is fuppofed to date 
from about the middle of the twelfth century. It foon became fo 
popular, that it appeared in different forms in all the languages of Weftern 
Europe, except in England, where there appears to have exifted no edition 
of the romance of Reynard the Fox until Caxton printed his proie 
Englifh verfion of the ftory. From that time it became, if poffible, more 
popular in England than elfewhere, and that popularity had hardly 
diminithed down to the commencement of the prefent century. 

The popularity of the ftory of Reynard caufed it to be imitated in a 
variety of ihapes, and this form of fatire, in which animals acted the part 
of men, became altogether popular. In the latter part of the twelfth 
century, an Anglo-Latin poet, named Nigellus Wireker, compofed a very 
fevere fatire in elegiac verfe, under the title of Speculum Stultorum, the 
" Mirror of Fools." It is not a wife animal like the fox, but a fimple 
animal, the afs, who, under the name of Brunellus, paffes among the 
various ranks and clafTes of fociety, and notes their crimes and vices. A 
profe introduction to this poem informs us that its hero is the reprefenta- 
tive of the monks in general, who were always longing for fome new 
acquifition which was inconfiftent with their profeflion. In fact, Brunellus 
is abforbed with the notion that his tail was too fhort, and his great 
ambition is to get it lengthened. For this purpofe he confults a phyfician, 
who, after reprefenting to him in vain the folly of his purfuit, gives him 
a receipt to make his tail grow longer, and fends him to the celebrated 
medical fchool of Salerno to obtain the ingredients. After various 
adventures, in the courfe of which he lofes a part of his tail inftead of its 
being lengthened, Brunellus proceeds to the University of Paris to fludy 


tures de Maitre Renart et d'Ysengrin son compere." On the debated question of 
the origin of the Romance, see the learned and able work by Jonckbloet, 8vo., 
Groningue, 1863. 

in Literature and Art. 85 

and obtain knowledge ; and we are treated with a moft amutingly fatirical 
account of the condition and manners of the fcholars of that time. Soon 
convinced of his incapacity for learning, Brunellus abandons the univerfity 
in defpair, and he refolves to enter one of the monaftic orders, the 
character of all which he paries in review. The greater part of the poem 
confifts of a very bitter fatire on the corruptions of the monkifh orders 
and of the Church in general. While ftill hefitating which order to 
choofe, Brunellus falls into the hands of his old matter, from whom he 
had run away in order to feek his fortune in the world, and he is 
compelled to pafs the reft of his days in the fame humble and fervile 
condition in which he had begun them. 

A more direct imitation of " Reynard the Fox " is found in the early 
French romance of" Fauvel," the hero of which is neither a fox nor an afs, 
but a horfe. People of all ranks and clafles repair to the court of Fauvel, 
the horfe, and furnifh abundant matter for fatire on the moral, political, 
and religious hypocrify which pervaded the whole frame of fociety. At 
length the hero refolves to marry, and, in a finely illuminated manufcript 
of this romance, preferved in the Imperial Library in Paris, this marriage 
furniihes the fubject of a picture, which gives the only reprefentation I 
have met with of one of the populai ourlefque ceremonies which were fo 
common in the middle ages. 

Among other fuch ceremonies, it was cuftomary with the populace, 
on the occalion of a man's or woman's fecond marriage, or an ill-forted 
match, or on the efpoufals of people who were obnoxious to their 
neighbours, to affemble outfide the houfe, and greet them with difcordant 
mufic. This cuftom is faid to have been praftifed efpecially in France, 
and it was called a charivari. There is ftill a laft remnant of it in our 
country in the mufic of marrow-bones and cleavers, with which the 
marriages of butchers are popularly celebrated ; but the derivation of the 
French name appears not to be known. It occurs in old Latin documents, 
for it gave rife to fuch fcandalous fcenes of riot and licentiousnefs, that 
the Church did all it could, though in vain, to fupprefs it. The earlieft 
mention of this cuftom, furnifhed in the GloJJarium of Ducange, is 
contained in the lynodal flatutes of the church of Avignon, palled in the 


86 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

year 1337, from which we learn that when fuch marriages occurred, 
people forced their way into the houfes of the married couple, and carried 
away their goods, which they were obliged to pay a ranfom for before 
they were returned, and the money thus raifed was fpent in getting up 
what is called in the ftatute relating to it a Chalvaricum. It appears from 
this ftatute, that the individuals who performed the charivari accompanied 
the happy couple to the church, and returned with them to their 
refidence, with coarfe and indecent geftures and difcordant mufic, and 

A Mediaeval Charivari. 

uttering fcurrilous and indecent abufe, and that they ended with feafting. 
In the ftatutes of Meaux, in 1365, and in thole of Hugh, bifhop of 
Beziers, in 1368, the fame practice is forbidden, under the name of 
Char av allium ; and it is mentioned in a document of the year 1372, alfo 
quoted by Ducange, under that of Carivarium, as then exifting at Nimes. 
Again, in 144^, the Council of Tours made a decree, forbidding, under 
pain of excommunication, " the infolences, clamours, founds, and other 
tumults practifed at fecond and third nuptials, called by the vulgar a 


in Literature and Art. 


Charivarium, on account of the many and grave evils anting out of 
them."* It will be obferved that thefe early allulions to the charivari 
are found almoft folely in documents coming from the Roman towns in 
the fouth of France, fo that this practice was probably one of the many 
popular cuftoms derived directly from the Romans. When Cotgrave's 
"Dictionary " was publifhed (that is, in 1632) the practice of the charivari 
appears to have become more general in its exiftence, as well as its 
application ; for he defcribes it as " a public defamation, or traducing of 3 

rv — K \ 






i" ! 


. j $ / 1 

\jJJJ $± 


mil ^^JSi 

No. 53, Continuation of the Charivari. 

a foule noife made, blacke fantus rung, to the ihame and difgrace of 
another 5 hence an infamous (or infaming) ballad fung, by an armed 
troupe, under the window of an old dotard, married the day before unto 
a yong wanton, in mockerie of them both." And, again, a charivaris de 


* " Insultationes, clamores, sonos, et alios tumultus, in secundis et tertiis quo- 
rundam nuptiis, quos charivarium vulgo appellant-, propter multa et gravia incom- 
moda, prohibemus sub poena excommunicationis." — Ducange, v. Charivarium. 

poelles is explained as " the carting of an infamous perfon, graced with 
the harmonie of tinging kettles and frying-pan muficke."* The word is 
now generally ufed in the fenfe of a great tumult of difcordant mufic, 
produced often by a number of perfons playing different tunes on 
different initruments at the fame time. 

As I have flated above, the manufcript of the romance of " Fauvel " 
is in the Imperial Library in Paris. A copy of this illumination is 
engraved in Jaime's " Mufee de la Caricature," from which our cuts 
Nos. 52 and 53 are taken. It is divided into three compartments, one 
above another, in the uppermofi of which Fauvel is feen entering the 
nuptial chamber to his young wife, who is already in bed. The fcene in 
the compartment below, which is copied in our cut No. 52, reprefents 
the ftreet outfide, and the mock revellers performing the charivari; 
and this is continued in the third, or loweft, compartment, which 
is reprefented in our cut No. 53. Down each fide of the original 
illumination is a frame-work of windows, from which people, who 
have been difturbed by the noife, are looking out upon the tumult. 
It will be feen that all the performers wear mafks, and that they are 
dreffed in burlefque coflume. In confirmation of the ftatement of the 
ecclefiaftical fynods as to the licentioufnefs of thefe exhibitions, we 
fee one of the performers here difguifed as a woman, who lifts up his 
drefs to expofe his perfon while dancing. The mufical initruments 
are no lefs grotefque than the cofiumes, for they confift chiefly of kitchen 
utenfils, fuch as frying-pans, mortars, faucepans, and the like. 

There was another feries of fubje&s in which animals were introduced 
as the inftruments of fatire. This fatire coniifted in reverfing the pofition 
of man with regard to the animals over which he had been accuflomed 
to tyrannife, fo that he was fubjecled to the fame treatment from the 
animals which, in his actual pofition, he ules towards them. This change 
of relative pofition was called in old French and Anglo-Norman, le 
monde leftorne, which was equivalent to the Englifh phrafe, " the world 
turned upfide down." It forms the fubjecl of rather old verfes, I believe, 


* Cotgrave's Dictionarie, v. Charivaris. 

in Literature and Art. 

s 9 

both in French and Englifh, and individual fcenes from it are met with 
in pictorial reprefentation at a rather early date. During the year j 862, 
in the courfe of accidental excavations on the lite of the Friary, at 
Derby, a number of encauftic tiles, fuch as were ufed for the floors 
of the interiors of churches and large buildings, were found.* The 
ornamentation of thefe tiles, efpecially of the earlier ones, is, like ail 

No. 54 T/ie Tables Turned. 

mediaeval ornamentations, extremely varied, and even thefe tiles fome- 
times prefent fubje&s of a burlefque and fatirical character, though they 
are more frequently adorned with the arms and badges of benefactors to 
the church or convent. The tiles found on the flte of the priory at 
Derby are believed to be of the thirteenth century, and one pattern, a 
diminished copy of which is given in our cut No. 54, prefents a fubje6t 


* Mr. Llewellynn Jewitt, in his excellent publication, the Reliquary, fox October, 
1862, has given an interesting paper on the encaustic tiles found on this occasion, 
and on the conventual house to which they belonged. 


Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

taken from the monde bejiorne. The hare, mailer of his old enemy, the 
dog, has become hunter himfelf, and feated upon the dog's back he rides 
vigoroufly to the chace, blowing his horn as he goes. The defign is 
fpiritedly executed, and its fatirical intention is fhown by the monftrous 
and mirthful face, with the tongue lolling out, figured on the outer 
corner of the tile. It will be feen that four of thefe tiles are intended to 
be joined together to make the complete piece. In an illumination 
in a manufcript of the fourteenth century in the Britifh Mufeum 
(MS. Reg. ro E iv.), the hares are taking a mil more fevere vengeance 

No. 55. Juftice in the Hands of the Perfecuted. 

on their old enemy. The dog has been caught, brought to trial for his 
numerous murders, and condemned, and they are reprefented here 
(cut No. 55) conduding him in the criminal's cart to the gallows. Our 
cut No. 56, the fubjeft of which is furnifhed by one of the carved flails 
in Sherborne Minfler (it is here copied from the engraving in Carter's 
" Specimens of Ancient Sculpture"), reprefents another execution fcene, 
fimilar in fpirit to the former. The geefe have feized their old enemy, 
Reynard, and are hanging him on a gallows, while two monks, who 
attend the execution, appear to be amufed at the energetic manner in 


in Literature and Art. 


which the geefe perform their talk. Mr. Jewitt mentions two other 
iubjects belonging to this feries, one of them taken from an illuminated 
manufcript ; they are, the mouie chafing the cat, and the horfe driving 

No. 56. Reynard brought to Account at Laft. 

the cart — the former human carter in this cafe taking the place of the 
horfe between the fhafts. 

"The World turned upfide down 3 or, the FoJly of Man," has 
continued amongft us to be a popular chap-book and child's book till 
within a very few years, and I have now a copy before me printed in 
London about the year 1790. It confifls of a feries of rude woodcuts, 
with a few doggrel verfes under each. One of thefe, entitled " The Ox 
turned Farmer," reprefents two men drawing the plough, driven by an 
ox. In the next, a rabbit is feen turning the fpit on which a man is 
roailing, while a cock holds a ladle and baftes. In a third, we fee a 
tournament, in which the horfes are armed and ride upon the men. 
Another reprefents the ox killing the butcher. In others we have birds 
netting men and women ; the afs, turned miller, employing the man- 
miller to carry his facks ; the horfe turned groom, and currying the man ; 
and the fifties angling for men and catching them. 

In a cleverly fculptured ornament in Beverley Minfter, reprefented in 
our cut No. 57, the goofe herfelf is reprefented in a grotefque Situation, 


9 2 

Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

which might almoft give her a place in " The World turned uplide 
down," although it is a mere burlefque, without any apparent fatirical 

No. 57. Shoeing the Goofe. 

aim. The goofe has here taken the place of the horfe at the black i mi th's, 

who is vigoroufly nailing the fhoe on her webbed foot. 

Burlefque fubjects of this defcription are not uncommon, efpecially 

among architectural fculpture and 
wood-carving, and, at a rather 
later period, on all ornamental 
objeds. The field for fuch fubjefts 
was fo extenfive, that the artift 
had an almoft. unlimited choice, 
and therefore his fubje&s might be 
almoft infinitely varied, though we 
ufually find them running on par- 
ticular clafles. The old popular 

proverbs, for inftance, furnifhed a fruitful fource for drollery, and are at 

times delineated in an amulingly literal or practical manner. Pictorial 


No. 58. Food ft 

in Literature and Art. 


proverbs and popular fayings are fometimes met with on the carved 
mifereres. For example, in one of thofe at Rouen, in Normandy, 
reprefented in our cut No. 58, the carver has intended to reprefent 
the idea of the old faying, in allufion to mifplaced bounty, of throwing 
pearls to fwine, and has given it a much more pi6turefque and pictorially 
intelligible form, by introducing a rather dafhing female feeding her 
fwine with rofes, or rather offering them rofes for food, for the fwine 
difplay no eagernefs to feed upon them. 

We meet with fuch fubjects as thefe fcattered over all mediaeval 
works of art, and at a fomewhat later period they were transferred to 
other objects, fuch as the figns of houfes. The cuftom of placing figns 

No. 59, The Indujirioui Sow. 

over the doors of {hops and taverns, was well known to the ancients, as is 
abundantly manifested by their frequent occurrence in the ruins of 
Pompeii ; but in the middle ages, the ufe of figns and badges was 
univerfal, and as — contrary to the apparent practice in Pompeii, where 
certain badges were appropriated to certain trades and profeffions — every 
individual was free to choofe his own fign, the variety was unlimited. 
Many ftill had reference, no doubt, to the particular calling of thofe to 
whom they belonged, while others were of a religious character, and 
indicated the faint under whofe protection the houfeholder had placed 
himfelf. Some people took animals for their figns, others monftrous 
or burlefque figures ; and, in fact, there were hardly any of the fubjects of 



Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

caricature or burlefque familiar to the mediaeval fculptor and illuminator 
which did not from time to time appear on thefe popular figns. A few 
of the old figns mil preferved, efpecially in the quaint old towns of 
France, Germany, and the Netherlands, fhow us how frequently they 

were made the inltruments of popular fatire. 
A fign not uncommon in France was La 
Truie qui jile (the fow fpinning). Our cut 
No. 59 reprefents this fubject. as treated on 
an old fign, a carving in baf- relief of the 
fixteenth century, on a houfe in the Rue 
du Marche-aux-Poirees, in Rouen. The fow 
appears here in the character of the indultrious 
houfewife, employing herfelf in fpinning at 
the fame time that fhe is attending to the 
wants of her children. There is a Angularly 
fatirical fign at Beauvais, on a houfe which 
was formerly occupied by an epicier-moutardier, 
or grocer who made muftard, in the Rue du 
Chatel. In front of this fign, which is repre- 
fented in our cut No. 60, appears a large 
murtard-mill, on one fide of which lianas 
Folly with a Itaff in her hand, with which 
fhe is (Hiring the milliard, while an ape, 
with a fort of iardonic grin, throws in a feafoning, which may be 
conjectured by his pollure.* Tne trade-mark of the individual who 
adopted this Itrange device, is carved below. 


* See an interesting little book on this subject by M. Ed. de la Queriere, 
entitled " Recherches sur les Enseignes des Maisons Particulieres," 8vo., Rouen, 

1852, from which both the above examples are taken. 






THE fox, the wolf, and their companions, were introduced as 
inltruments of fatire, on account of their peculiar characters ; but 
there were other animals which were alfo favourites with the fatirift, 
becaufe they difplaved an innate inclination to imitate ; they formed, as 
it were, natural parodies upon mankind. I need hardly fay that of thefe 
the principal and moil remarkable was the monkey. This animal muft 
have been known to our Anglo-Saxon forefathers from a remote period, 
for they had a word for it in their own language — apa, our ape. Monkey 
is a more modern name, and feems to be equivalent with maniken, or a 
little man. The earlieft Beftiaries, or popular treatifes on natural hiftory, 
give anecdotes illuitrative of the aptnefs of this animal for imitating the 
actions of men, and afcribe to it a degree of underftanding which would 
almoft raife it above the level of the brute creation. Philip de Thaun, 
an Anglo-Norman poet of the reign of Henry I., in his Beftiary, tells us 
that "the monkey, by imitation, as books fay, counterfeits what it fees, 
and mocks people :" — 

Li Jinge far figure, Ji cum an efcripture^ 
Ceo que il wait contrefah, de gent ejcar halt. * 

96 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

He goes on to inform us, as a proof of the extraordinary inftinct of this 
animal, that it has more affection for fome of its cubs than for others, 
and that, when running away, it carried thofe which it liked before it, 
and thofe it difliked behind its back. The (ketch, from the illuminated 
manufcript of the Romance of the Comte 
d' Artois, of the fifteenth century, which forms 
our cut No. 61, reprefents the monkey, carry- 
ing, of courfe, its favourite child before it in 
its flight, and what is more, it is taking that 
flight mounted on a donkey. A monkey 
on horfeback appears not to have been a 
novelty, as we (hall fee in the fequel. 
No. 61. A Monkey Alexander Neckam, a very celebrated 

Englifh fcholar of the latter part of the 
twelfth century, and one of the moll interefling of the early mediaeval 
writers on natural hillory, gives us many anecdotes, which fhow us 
how much attached our mediaeval forefathers were to domefticated 
animals, and how common a practice it was to keep them in 
their houfes. The baronial caftle appears often to have prefented the 
appearance of a menagerie of animals, among which fome were of that 
ftrong and ferocious character that rendered it neceflary to keep them in 
clofe confinement, while others, fuch as monkeys, roamed about the 
buildings at will. One of Neckam's flories is very curious in regard to 
our fubject, for it fhows that the people in thofe days exercifed their 
tamed animals in practically caricaturing contemporary weakneffes and 
fafhions. This writer remarks that u the nature of the ape is lb ready at 
acting, by ridiculous gefticulations, the reprefentations of things it has 
feen, and thus gratifying the vain curioiity of worldly men in public 
exhibitions, that it will even dare to imitate a military conflict. A 
jougleur (hi/trio) was in the habit of conftantly taking two monkeys to 
the military exercifes which are commonly called tournaments, that the 
labour of teaching might be diminifhed by frequent infpection. He 
afterwards taught two dogs to carry thefe apes, who fat on their backs, 
furnifhed with proper arms. Nor did they want fpurs, with which they 


in Literature and Art. 


ftrenuoufly urged on the dogs. Having broken their lances, they drew 
out their fwords, with which they fpent many blows on each other's 
ihields. Who at this fight could refrain from laughter?"* 

Such contemporary caricatures of the mediaeval tournament, which 
was in its greateft fafhion during the period from the twelfth to the 
fourteenth century, appear to have been extremely popular, and are not 
unfrequently reprefented in the borders of illuminated manufcripts. 
The manufcript now fo well known as " Queen Mary's Pfalter " 
(MS. Reg. 2 B vii.), and written and illuminated very early in the 
fourteenth century, contains not a few illuftrations of this defcription. 
One of thefe, which forms our cut No. 62, reprefents a tournament 

No. 62. A Tournament , 

not much unlike that defcribed by Alexander Neckam, except that 
the monkeys are here riding upon other monkeys, and not upon 
dogs. In fact, all the individuals here engaged are monkeys, and 
the parody is completed by the introduction of the trumpeter on 
one fide, and of minftrelfy, reprefented by a monkey playing on the 
tabor, on the other j or, perhaps, the two monkeys are fimply 
playing on the pipe and tabor, which were looked upon as the loweft 
defcription of minftrelfy, and are therefore the more aptly introduced 
into the fcene. 

The fame manufcript has furnifhed us with the cut No. 63. Here 


* Alexander Neckam, De Naturis Rerum, lib. ii. c 129. 

9 8 

Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

the combat takes place between a monkey and a flag, the latter having 
the claws of a griffin. They are mounted, too, on rather nondefcript 
animals — one having the head and body of a lion, with the forefeet of 
an eagle ; the other having a head fomewhat like that of a lion, on a 
lion's body, with the hind parts of a bear. This fubject may, perhaps, be 
intended as a burlefque on the mediaeval romances, filled with combats 
between the Chriftians and the Saracens ; for the ape — who, in the 
moralifations which accompany the Befiiaries, is faid to reprefent the devil 


No. 63. A Feat of jfrms. 

— is here armed with what are evidently intended for the fabre and 
ihield of a Saracen, while the flag carries the fhield and lance of a 
Chriftian knight. 

The love of the mediaeval artifts for monftrous figures of animals, and 
for mixtures of animals and men, has been alluded to in a former chapter. 
The combatants in the accompanying cut (No. 64), taken from the fame 
manufcript, prefent a fort of combination of the rider and the animal, and 
they again feem to be intended for a Saracen and a Chriftian. The 
figure to the right, which is compofed of the body of a fatyr, with the 
feet of a goofe and the wings of a dragon, is armed with a fimilar 
Saracenic fabre; while that to the left, which is on the whole lefs 
monftrous, wields a Norman fword. Both have human faces below the 
navel as well as above, which was a favourite idea in the grotefque of the 


in Literature and Art. 


middle ages. Our mediaeval forefathers appear to have had a decided 
tafte for monilrofities of every defcription, and efpecially for mixtures of 

No. 64. A Terrible Combat. 

different kinds of animals, and of animals and men. There is no doubt, 

to judge by the anecdotes recorded by fuch writers as Giraldus 

Cambrenfis, that a belief in the exiftence of fuch 

unnatural creatures was widely entertained. In his 

account of Ireland, this writer tells us of animals 

which were half ox and half man, half flag and 

half cow, and half dog and half monkey.* It is 

certain that there was a general belief in fuch 

animals, and nobody could be more credulous than 

Giraldus himfelf. 

The defign to caricature, which is tolerably evident 
in the fubjecls jufl given, is Hill more apparent in 
other grotefques that adorn the borders of the 
mediaeval manufcripts, as well as in fome of the dJ 

mediaeval carvings and fculpture. Thus, in our cut No 6 5 Fajhhnabh Dref, 
No. 6^, taken from one of the borders in the Romance of the Comte 


* See Girald. Cambr., Topog. Hibernise, dist. ii cc. 21, 22; and the Itinerary 
of Wales, lib. ii. e. 11. 

ioo Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

d'Artois, a manufcript of the fifteenth century, we cannot fail to 
recognife an attempt at turning to ridicule the contemporary fafhions in 
drefs. The hat is only an exaggerated form of one which appears to 
have been commonly ufed in France in the latter half of the fifteenth 
century, and which appears frequently in illuminated manufcripts 
executed in Burgundy ; and the boot alfo belongs to the fame period. 
The latter reappeared at different times, until at length it became 
developed into the modern top-boots. In cut No. 66, from the fame 

No. 66. Heads and Hats. 

manufcript, where it forms the letter T, we have the fame form of 
hat, frill more exaggerated, and combined at the fame time with 
grotefque faces. 

Caricatures on coflume are by no means uncommon among the 
artiflic remains of the middle ages, and are not confined to illuminated 
manufcripts. The fafhionable dreffes of thofe days went into far more 
ridiculous exceffes of fhape than anything we fee in our times — at leaft, 
fo far as we can believe the drawings in the manufcripts ; but thefe, 
however ferioufly intended, were conflantly degenerating into caricature, 
from circumftances which are eafily explained, and which have, in fa6t, 
been explained already in their influence on other parts of our fubjecl:. 
The mediaeval artifls in general were not very good delineators of form, 
and their outlines are much inferior to their finifh. Confcious of this, 
though perhaps unknowingly, they fought to remedy the defect in a fpirit 
which has always been adopted in the early tfages of art-progrefs — they 
aimed at making themfelves underftood by giving a fpecial prominence to 


in Literature and Art. i o i 

the peculiar characteriftics of the objects they wifhed to reprefent. Thefe 
were the points which naturally attracted people's firft attention, and 
the refemblance was felt moft by people in general when thefe points 
were put forward in exceffive prominence in the picture. The dreffes, 
perhaps, hardly exifted in the exact forms in which we fee them in the 
illuminations, or at leaft thofe were only exceptions to the generally 
more moderate forms ; and hence, in ufing thefe pictorial records as 
materials for the hiflory of coftume, we ought to make a certain allowance 
for exaggeration — we ought, indeed, to treat them almoft as caricatures. 
In fact, much of what we now call caricature, was then characteriflic of 
ferious art, and of what was confidered its high development. Many of 
the attempts which have been made of late years to introduce ancient 
coftume on the ftage, would probably be regarded by the people who 
lived in the age which they were intended to reprefent, as a mere defign 
to turn them into ridicule. Neverthelefs, the fafhions in drefs were, 
efpecially from the twelfth century to the fixteenth, carried to a great 
degree of extravagance, and were not only the objects of fatire and 
caricature, but drew forth the indignant declamations of the Church, and 
furnilhed a continuous theme to the preachers. The contemporary 
chronicles abound with bitter reflections on the extravagance in coftume, 
which was confidered as one of the outward figns of the great corruption 
of particular periods ; and they give us not unfrequent examples of the 
coarfe manner in which the clergy difcuffed them in their fermons. The 
readers of Chaucer will remember the manner in which this fubject is 
treated in the " Parfon's Tale." In this refpect the fatirifts of the 
Church went hand in hand with the pictorial caricaturifts of the illumi- 
nated manufcripts, and of the fculptures with which we fometimes meet 
in contemporary architectural ornamentation. In the latter, this clafs 
of caricature is perhaps lefs frequent, but it is fometimes very expreffive. 
The very curious mifereres in the church of Ludlow, in Shropihire, prefent 
the caricature reproduced in our cut No. 67. It reprefents an ugly, 
and, to judge by the expreffion of the countenance, an ill-tempered old 
woman, wearing the fafhionable head-drefs of the earlier half of the 
fifteenth century, which feems to have been carried to its greatefl 


102 Hijiory of 'Caricature and Grotefque 

extravagance in the beginning of the reign of Henry VI. It is the flyle 
of coiffure known efpecially as the horned head-drefs, and the very name 
carries with it a fort of relatiorifhip to an individual who was notorioufly 



^t^ i 


No. 67. A Fa/hionable Beauty, 

horned — the fpirit of evil. This dafhing dame of the olden time appears 
to have flruck terror into two unfortunates who have fallen within her 

influence, one of whom, as though he 
took her for a new Gorgon, is attempt- 
ing to cover himfelf with his buckler, 
while the other, apprehending danger of 
another kind, is prepared to defend him- 
felf with his fword. The details of the 
head-drefs in this figure are interefting 
for the hiftory of coftume. 

Our next cut, No. 68, is taken from 
a manufcript in private poffeffion, which 
is now rather well known among anti- 
quaries by the name of the " Luttrell 
Pfalter," and which belongs to the four- 
teenth century. It feems to involve a 
fatire on the ariftocratic order of fociety 
■ — on the knight who was diftinguifhed 
by his helmet, his fhield, and his armour. The individual here repre- 
fented prefents a type which is anything but ariftocratic. While he holds 

a helmet 

;f War. 

in Literature 



a helmet in his hand to mow the meaning of the fatire, his own helmet, 
which he wears on his head, is limply a bellows. He may be a knight 
of the kitchen, or perhaps a mere qui/iron, or kitchen lad. 

We have juft feen a caricature of one of the ladies' head-drefTes of the 
earlier half of the fifteenth century, and our cut No. 69, from an illuminated 
manufcript in the Britifh Mufeum of the latter half of 
the fame century (MS. Harl., No. 4379), furnifhes 
us with a caricature of a head-drefs of a different 
character, which came into falhion in the reign of our 
Edward IV. The horned head-drefs of the previous 
generation had been entirely laid afide, and the 
ladies adopted in its place a fort of fteeple-fhaped 
head-drefs, or rather of the form of a fpire, made by 
rolling a piece of linen into the form of a long cone. 
Over this lofty cap was thrown a piece of fine lawn.or 
muflin, which defcended almoft to the ground, and 
formed, as it were, two wings. A fhort tranfparent 
veil was thrown over the face, and reached not quite 
to the chin, refembling rather clofely the veils in ufe 
among our ladies of the prefent day (1864). The 
whole head-drefs, indeed, has been preferved by the 
Norman peafantry ; for it may be obferved that, 
during the feudal ages, the fafhions in France and 

England were always identical. Thefe fteeple head-drefTes greatly pro- 
voked the indignation of the clergy, and zealous preachers attacked them 
roughly in their fermons. A French monk, named Thomas Conedte, 
diftinguiihed himfelf efpecially in this crufade, and inveighed againft 
the head-drefs with fuch effect, that we are affured that many of the 
women threw down their head-drefTes in the middle of the fermon, and 
made a bonfire of them at its conclufion. The zeal of the preacher foon 
extended itfelf to the populace, and, for a while, when ladies appeared in 
this head-drefs in public, they were expofed to be pelted by the rabble. 
Under fuch a double perfecution it difappeared for a moment, but when 
the preacher was no longer prefent, it returned again, and, to ufe the 


No. 69. A Lady's 

104 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

words of the old writer who has preferved this anecdote, " the women 
who, like mails in a fright, had drawn in their horns, mot them out again 
as foon as the danger was over." The caricaturift would hardly overlook 
fo extravagant a fafhion, and accordingly the manufcript in the Britifh 
Mufeum, juft mentioned, furnifhes us with the fubject of our cut No. 69. 
In thofe times, when the paffions were fubjected to no reftraint, the fine 
ladies indulged in fuch luxury and licentioumefs, that the caricaturift has 
chofen as their fit reprefentative a fow, who wears the objectionable head- 
drefs in full fafhion. The original forms one of the illuftrations of a 
copy of the hiftorian Froifiart, and was, therefore, executed in France, 
or, more probably, in Burgundy. 

The fermons and fatires againft extravagance in coftume began at an 
early period. The Anglo-Norman ladies, in the earlier part of the 
twelfth century, nrfl brought in vogue in our ifland this extravagance in 
fafhion, which quickly fell under the lafh of fatirift and caricaturift. It 
was firft exhibited in the robes rather than in the head-drefs. Thefe 
Anglo-Norman ladies are underftood to have firft introduced flays, in 
order to give an artificial appearance of flendernefs to their waifts ; but 
the greateft extravagance appeared in the forms of their fleeves. The 
robe, or gown, inftead of being loofe, as among the Anglo-Saxons, was 
laced clofe round the body, and the fleeves, which fitted the arm tightly 
till they reached the elbows, or fometimes nearly to the wrifl, then 
fuddenly became larger, and hung down to an extravagant length, often 
trailing on the ground, and fometimes fhortened by means of a knot. 
The gown, alfo, was itfelf worn very long. The clergy preached againft 
thefe extravagances in fafhion, and at times, it is faid, with efFe6l ; and 
they fell under the vigorous lafh of the fatirift. In a clafs of fatires which 
became extremely popular in the twelfth century, and which produced 
in the thirteenth the immortal poem of Dante — the vifions of purgatory 
and of hell — thefe contemporary extravagances in fafhion are held up to 
public deteflation, and are made the fubje6t of fevere punifhment. 
They were looked upon as among the outward forms of pride. It arofe, 
no doubt, from this tafte — from the darker fhade which fpread over men's 
minds in the twelfth century — that demons, inftead of animals, were 


in Literature and Art. 


introduced to perfonify the evil-doers of the time. Such is the figure 
(cut No. 70) which we take from a very interesting manufcript in the 
Britifh Mufeum (MS. Cotton. Nero, C iv.). The demon is here dreffed 
in the fafhionable gown with its long fleeves, of which one appears to have 
been ufually much longer than the other. Both the gown and fleeve are 
thortened by means of knots, while the former is brought clofe round 

No. 7c Sin in Satins. 

the waift by tight lacing. It is a pi&ure of the ufe of flays made at the 
time of their firft introduction. 

This fuperfluity of length in the different parts of the drefs was a 
fubject of complaint and fatire at various and very diftant periods, and 
contemporary illuminations of a perfectly ferious character fhow that 
thefe complaints were not without foundation. 

io6 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotejque 





I HAVE already remarked that, upon the fall of the Roman empire, 
the popular inftitutions of the Romans were more generally 
preferved to the middle ages than thofe of a higher and more refined 
character. This is underftood without difficulty, when we confider that 
the lower clafs of the population — in the towns, what we might perhaps 
call the lower and middle clafles — continued to exifl much the fame as 
before, while the barbarian conquerors came in and took the place of the 
ruling clafles. The drama, which had never much hold upon the love 
of the Roman populace, was loft, and the theatres and the amphitheatres, 
which had been fupported only by the wealth of the imperial court and 
of the ruling clafs, were abandoned and fell into ruin ; but the mimus, 
who furnifhed mirth to the people, continued to exift, and probably 
underwent no immediate change in his character. It will be well to 
ftate again the chief chara6teriftics of the ancient mimus, before we 
proceed to defcribe his mediaeval reprefentative. 

The grand aim of the mimus was to make people laugh, and he 
employed generally every means he knew of for effecting this purpofe, 
by language, by geftures or motions of the body, or by drefs. Thus he 
carried, ftrapped over his loins, a wooden fword, which was called 
gladius hijlricus and clunaculum, and wore fometimes a garment made of 
a great number of fmall pieces of cloth of different colours, which was 
hence called centunculus, or the hundred-patched drefs.* Thefe two 


* "Uti me consuessetragoedi syrmate, histrionis crotalone ad trieterica orgia,aut 
inimi centunculo.'' 1 — Apuleius, Apolog. 

in Literature and Art. 


characteriftics have been preferved in the modern harlequin. Other 
peculiarities of coftume may conveniently be left undefcribed 3 the female 
mimae fometimes exhibited themfelves unrestricted by drefs. They 
danced and fung 3 repeated jokes and told merry ftories 3 recited or acted 
farces and fcandalous anecdotes 3 performed what we now call mimicry, 
a word derived from the name of mimus 3 and they put themfelves in 
ftrange poftures, and made frightful faces. They fometimes acted the 
part of a fool or zany (morio), or of a madman. They added to thefe 
performances that of the conjurer or juggler (prcejligiator), and played 
tricks of Height of hand. The mimi performed in the ftreets and public 
places, or in the theatres, and efpecially at festivals, and they were often 
employed at private parties, to entertain the guefts at a fupper. 

We trace the exiilence of this clafs of performers during the earlier 
period of the middle ages by the expreffions of hoftility towards them 
ufed from time to time by the ecclefiaftical writers, and the denunciations 
of fynods and councils, which have been quoted in a former chapter.* 
Neverthelefs, i is evident from many allufions to them, that they found 
their way into the monaftic houfes, and were in great favour not only 
among the monks, but among the nuns alio 3 that they were introduced 
into the religious festivals 3 and that they were tolerated even in the 
churches. It is probable that they long continued to be known in Italy 
and the countries near the centre of Roman influence, and where the 
Latin language was continued, by their old name of mimus. The 
writers of the mediaeval vocabularies appear all to have been much better 
acquainted with the meaning of this word than of mofl of the Latin 
words of the fame clafs, and they evidently had a clafs of performers 
exifting in their own times to whom they confidered that the name 
applied. The Anglo-Saxon vocabularies interpret the Latin mimus by 
glig-mon, a gleeman. In Anglo-Saxon, glig or gliu meant mirth and 
game of every defcription, and as the Anglo-Saxon teachers who compiled 
the vocabularies give, as fynonyms of mimus, the words fcurra, joci/la, 
and pantomimus, it is evident that all thefe were included in the character 


* See before, p. 41 of the present volume. 

of the gleeman, and that the latter was quite identical with his Roman 
type. It was the Roman mimus introduced into Saxon England. We 
have no traces of the exiftence of fuch a clafs of performers among the 
Teutonic race before they became acquainted with the civilifation of 
imperial Rome. We know from drawings in contemporary illuminated 
manufcripts that the performances of the gleeman did include mufic, 
finging, and dancing, and alfo the tricks of mountebanks and jugglers, 
fuch as throwing up and catching knives and balls, and performing with 
tamed bears, &c* 

But even among the peoples who preferved the Latin language, 
the word mimus was gradually exchanged for others employed to fignify 
the fame thing. The word jocus had been ufed in the fignification 
of a jeft, playfulnefs, jocari fignified to jell, and joculator was a word 
for a jefler 5 but, in the debafement of the language, jocus was taken in 
the fignification of everything which created mirth. It became, in 
the courfe of time the French word jeu, and the Italian gioco, or 
giuoco. People introduced a form of the verb, jocare, which became the 
French juer, to play or perform. Joculator was then ufed in the 
fenfe of mimus. In French the word became jogleor, or jougleor, and 
in its later form jougleur. I may remark that, in mediaeval manu- 
fcripts, it is almoft impoffible to diftinguilh between the u and the n, and 
that modern writers have mifread this laft word as jongleur, and thus 
introduced into the language a word which never exifled, and which 
ought to be abandoned. In old Englifti, as we fee in Chaucer, the ufual 
form was jogelere. The mediaeval joculator, or jougleur, embraced all 
the attributes of the Roman mimus,\ and perhaps more. In the firft 

* See examples of these illuminations in my "History of Domestic Manners 
and Sentiments," pp. 34, 35, 37, 65. 

f People in the middle ages were so fully conscious of the identity of the 

mediaeval jougleur with the Roman mimus, that the Latin writers often use mimiu 

to signify a jougleur, and the one is interpreted by the others in the vocabularies. 

Thus, in Latin-English vocabularies of the fifteenth century, we have — 

Hie joculator, ")/,.. 

tt- • > Anghce jog u lour. 

Hie mimus, ) & J *■ 

in Literature and Art. 109 

place he was very often a poet himfelf, and compofed the pieces which it 
was one of his duties to ling or recite. Thefe were chiefly fongs, or 
{lories, the latter ufually told in verfe, and fo many of them are preferved 
in manufcripts that they form d very numerous and important clafs of 
mediaeval literature. The fongs were commonly fatirical and abufive, 
and they were made ufe of for purpofes of general or perfonal 
vituperation. Out of them, indeed, grew the political fongs of a later 
period. There were female jougleurs, and both fexes danced, and, to 
create mirth among thofe who encouraged them, they praftifed a variety 
of performances, fuch as mimicking people, making wry and ugly faces, 
diftorting their bodies into flrange poftures, often expofing their perfons in 
a very unbecoming manner, and performing many vulgar and indecent 
ads, which it is not neceffary to defcribe more particularly. They 
carried about with them for exhibition tame bears, monkeys, and other 
animals, taught to perform the actions of men. As early as the 
thirteenth century, we find them including among their other accom- 
plifhments that of dancing upon the tight-rope. Finally, the jougleurs 
performed tricks of Height of hand, and were often conjurers and 
magicians. As, in modern times, the jougleurs of the middle ages 
gradually palled away, Height of hand appears to have become their 
principal accomplishment, and the name only was left in the modern 
word juggler. The jougleurs of the middle ages, like the mimi of 
antiquity, wandered about from place to place, and often from country 
to country, fometimes fingly and at others in companies, exhibited their 
performances in the roads and ilreets, repaired to all great feftivals, and 
were employed efpecially in the baronial hall, where, by their fongs, 
tlories, and other performances, they created mirth after dinner. 

This clafs of fociety had become known by another name, the origin 
of which is not fo ealily explained. The primary meaning of the Latin 
word minijter was a fervant, one who minifters to another, either in his 
wants or in his pleafures and amufements. It was applied particularly to 
the cup-bearer. In low Latinity, a diminutive of this word was formed, 
minefiellus , or mimjtrellus, a petty fervant, or minifter. When we firft 
meet with this word, which is not at a very early date, it is ufed as 


1 1 o Hijiory of Caricature and Grot ef que 

perfe&ly fynonymous with joculator, and, as the word is certainly of Latin 
derivation, it is clear that it was from it the middle ages derived the 
French word meneftrel (the modern menetrier), and the Englifh minfirel. 
The mimi or jougleurs were perhaps confidered as the petty minifters to 
the amufements of their lord, or of him who for the time employed them. 
Until the clofe of the middle ages, the minftrel and the jougleur were 
abfolately identical. Poffibly the former may have been confidered the 
more courtly of the two names. But in England, as the middle ages 
difappeared, and loft their influence on fociety fooner than in France, the 
word minftrel remained attached only to the mufical part of the functions 
of the old mimus, while, as juft obferved, the juggler took the Height of 
hand and the mountebank tricks. In modern French, except where 
employed technically by the antiquary, the word menetrier means 
a fiddler. 

The jougleurs, or minftrels, formed a very numerous and important, 
though a low and defpifed, clafs of mediaeval fociety. The dulnefs of 
every-day life in a feudal cattle or manfion required fomething more than 
ordinary excitement in the way of amufement, and the old family bard, 
who continually repeated to the Teutonic chief the praifes of himfelf and 
his anceftors, was foon felt to be a wearifome companion. The mediaeval 
knights and their ladies wanted to laugh, and to make them laugh 
fufficiently it required that the jokes, or tales, or comic performances, 
mould be broad, coarfe, and racy, with a good fpicing of violence and of 
the wonderful. Hence the jougleur was always welcome to the feudal 
manfion, and he feldom went away difTatisfied. But the fubjecl: of the 
prefent chapter is rather the literature of the jougleur than his perfonal 
hiflory, and, having traced his origin to the Roman mimus, we will now 
proceed to one clafs of his performances. 

It has been ftated that the mimus and the jougleurs told ftories. Of 
thofe of the former, unfortunately, none are preferved, except, perhaps, in 
a few anecdotes fcattered in the pages of fuch writers as Apuleius and 
Lucian, and we are obliged to guefs at their character, but of the ftories 
of the jougleurs a confiderable number has been preferved. It becomes 
an interefting queflion how far thefe ftories have been derived from the 


in Literature and Art, x i i 

mimi, handed down traditionally from mimus to jougleur, how far they 
are native in our race, or how far they were derived at a later date from 
other fources. And in conndering this queftion, we muft not forget that 
the mediaeval jougleurs were not the only reprefentatives of the mimi, 
for among the Arabs of the Eaft alfo there had originated from them, 
modified under different circumftances, a very important clafs of minftrels 
and ftory-tellers, and with thefe the jougleurs of the weft were brought 
into communication at the commencement of the crufades. There can 
be no doubt that a very large number of the ftories of the jougleurs 
were borrowed from the Eaft, for the evidence is furniuhed by the ftories 
themfelves ; and there can be little doubt alfo that the jougleurs 
improved themfelves, and underwent fome modification, by their inter- 
courfe with Eaftern performers of the. fame clafs. 

On the other hand, we have traces of the exiftence of thefe popular 
ftories before the jougleurs can have had communication with the Eaft. 
Thus, as already mentioned, we find, compofed in Germany, apparently 
in the tenth century, in rhythmical Latin, the well-known ftory of the 
wife of a merchant who bore a child during the long abfence of her 
hufband, and who excufed herfelf by dating that her pregnancy had been 
the refult of fwallowing a flake of fnow in a fhow-ftorm. This, and 
another of the fame kind, were evidently intended to be fung. Another 
poem in popular Latin verfe, which Grimm and Schmeller, who edited 
it,* believe may be of the eleventh century, relates a very amufing 
ftory of an adventurer named Unibos, who, continually caught in 
his own fnares, finifhes by getting the better of all his enemies, and 
becoming rich, by mere ingenious cunning and good fortune. This ftory 
is not met with among thofe of the jougleurs, as far as they are yet 
known, but, curioufly enough, Lover found it exifting orally among the 
Irifh peafantry, and inferted the Irifti ftory among his " Legends of 
Ireland." It is a curious illuftration of the pertinacity with which the, 
popular ftories defcend along with peoples through generations from the 


*In a volume entitled "Lateinische Gedichte des x. und xi. Jh." 8vo. 
Gottingen, 1838. 

1 1 2 Hi/iory of Caricature and Grot ej que 

remoteft ages of antiquity. The fame flory is found in an oriental form 
among the tales of the Tartars published in French by Guenlette. 

The people of the middle ages, who took their word fable from the 
Latin f alula, which they appear to have underftood as a mere term for 
any fhort narration, included under it the ftories told by the mimi and 
jougleurs ; but, in the fondnefs of the middle ages for diminutives, by 
which they intended to exprefs familiarity and attachment, applied to 
them more particularly the Latin fabella, which in the old French 
became fab lei, or, more uihaWy, fabliau. The fabliaux of the jougleurs 
form a moll important clafs of the comic literature of the middle ages. 
They mutt have been wonderfully numerous, for a very large quantity of 
them mil remain, and thefe are only the fmall portion of what once 
exifted, which have efcaped perifhing like the others by the accident of 
being written in manufcripts which have had the fortune to furvive ; 
while manufcripts containing others have no doubt perifhed, and it is 
probable that many were only preferved orally, and never written down 
at all.* The recital of thefe fabliaux appears to have been the favourite 
employment of the jougleurs, and they became fo popular that the 
mediaeval preachers turned them into ihort ftories in Latin profe, and 
made ufe of them as illuftrations in their fermons. Many collections of 
thefe ihort Latin ftories are found in manufcripts which had ferved as 
note-books to the preachers, f and out of them was originally compiled 
that celebrated mediaeval book called the " Gefta Romanorum." 

It is to be regretted that the fubje<5ts and language of a large portion 
of thefe fabliaux are fuch as to make it impoflible to prefent them before 
modern readers, for they furnifh Angularly intereiling and minute pictures 
of mediaeval life in all claffes of fociety. Domeftic fcenes are among 
thofe moft frequent, and they reprefent the interior of the mediaeval 


* Many of the Fabliaux have been printed, but the two principal collections, 
and to which I shall chiefly refer in the text, are tho^e of Barbazan, re-edited 
and much enlarged by M6on, 4 vols. 8vo., 1808, and of Meon, 2 vols. 8vo., 1823. 

t A collection of these short Latin stories was edited by the author of the 
present work, in a volume printed for the Percy Society in 1842. 

in Literature and Art. i 1 1 

houfehold in no favourable point of view. The majority of thefe tell 
loofe ftories of hulbands deceived by their fair fpoufes, or of tricks played 
upon unfufpe&ing damfels. In fome inflances the treatment of the 
hufband is perhaps what may be called of a lefs objectionable character, 
as in the fabliau of La Vilain Mire (the clown do&or), printed in 
Barbazan (iii. 1), which was the origin of Moliere's well-known comedy 
of " Le Medecin malgre lui." A rich peafant married the daughter of a 
poor knight ; it was of courfe a marriage of ambition on his part, and of 
interefl on hers — one of thofe ill-forted matches which, according to feudal 
fentiments, could never be happy, and in which the wife was -confidered 
as privileged to treat her hulband with all pomble contempt. In this 
inftance the lady hit upon an ingenious mode of puniihing her hufband 
for his want of fubmillion to her ill-treatment. MefTengers from the 
king paffed that way, feeking a fkilful doctor to cure the king's daughter 
of a dangerous malady. The lady fecretly informed thefe meffengers 
that her hulband was a phyfician of extraordinary talent, but of an 
eccentric temper, for he would never acknowledge or exercife his art 
until firft fubje&ed to a fevere beating. The hulband is feized, bound, 
and carried by force to the king's court, where, of courfe, he denies all 
knowledge of the healing art, but a fevere beating obliges him to com- 
pliance, and he is fuccefsful by a combination of impudence and chance. 
This is only the beginning of the poor man's miferies. Infread of being 
allowed to go home, his fame has become fo great that he is retained at 
court for the public good, and, with a rapid fucceffion of patients, fearful 
of the refults of his confcious ignorance, he refufes them all, and is 
fubjected in every cafe to the fame ill-treatment to force his compliance. 
The examples in which the hulband, on the other hand, outwits the wife 
are few. A fabliau by a poet who gives himfelf the name of Cortebarbe, 
printed alfo by Barbazan (iii. 398), relates how three blind beggars were 
deceived by a clerc, or fcholar, of Paris, who met them on the road near 
Compiegne. The clerk pretended to give the three beggars a bezant, 
which was then a good fum of money, and they haftened joyfully to the 
next tavern, where they ordered a plentiful fupper, and feafled to their 
hearts' content. But, in fact, the clerk had not given them a bezant at 

« all. 

i 1 4 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefq 


all, although, as he faid he did fo, and they could only judge by their 
hearing, they imagined that they had the coin, and each thought that it 
was in the keeping of one of his companions. Thus, when the time of 
paying came, and the money was not forthcoming, in the common belief 
that one of the three had received the bezant and intended to keep it 
and cheat the others, they quarrelled violently, and from abufe foon 
came to blows. The landlord, drawn to the fpot by the uproar, and 
informed of the ftate of the cafe, accufed the three blind men of a 
confpiracy to cheat him, and demanded payment with great threats. 
The clerk of Paris, who had followed them to the inn, and taken his 
lodging there in order to witnefs the refult, delivered the blind men by 
an equally ingenious trick which he plays upon the landlord and the 
prieft of the parifh. 

Some of thefe ftories have for their fubje6t tricks played among 
thieves. In one printed by Meon (i. 124), we have the ftory of a rich 
but fimple villan, or countryman, named Brifaut, who is robbed at 
market by a cunning fharper, and feverely corrected by his wife for his 
careleffhefs. Robbery, both by force and by Height of hand and craft, 
prevailed to an extraordinary degree during the middle ages. The plot 
of the fabliau of Barat and Haimet, by Jean de Boves (Barbazan, iv. 233), 
turns upon a trial of fkill among three robbers to determine who fhall 
commit the clevereft a<5t of thievery, and the refult is, at leaft, an 
extremely amufing ftory. It may be mentioned as an example of the 
numerous ftories which the jougleurs certainly obtained from the Eaft, 
that the well-known ftory of the Hunchback in the "Arabian Nights" 
appears among them in two or three different forms. 

The focial vices of the middle ages, their general licentioufnefs, the 
prevalence of injuilice and extortion, are very fully expofed to view in 
thefe compofitions, in which no clafs of fociety is fpared. The villan, or 
peafant, is always treated very contemptuoufly ; he formed the clafs from 
which the jougleur received leaft benefit. But the ariftocracy, the great 
barons, the lords of the foil, come in for their full fhare of fatire, and they 
no doubt enjoyed the ridiculous pictures of their own order. I will not 
venture to introduce the reader to female life in the baronial caftle, as it 


in Literature and Art. 1 1 

appears in many of thefe ftories, and as it is no doubt truly painted, 
although, of courfe, in many inftances, much exaggerated. We have already 
feen how in the flory of Reynard, the character of mediaeval fociety was 
reprefented by the long ftruggle between brute force reprefented by the 
wolf, the emblem of the ariftocratic clafs, and the low aftutenels of the 
fox, or the unariftocratic clafs. The fucceis of the craft of the human fox 
over the force of his lordly antagonift is often told in the fabliaux in 
ludicrous colours. In that of Trubert, printed by Meon (i. 192), the 
ff duke of a country, with his wife and family, become repeatedly the 
dupes of the grofs deceptions of a poor but impudent peafant. Thefe 
fatires upon the ariftocracy were no doubt greatly enjoyed by the good 
lourgeoijie, who, in their turn, furnilhed abundance of ftories, of the 
drolleft defcription, to provoke the mirth of the lords of the foil, between 
whom and themfelves there was a kind of natural antipathy. Nor are 
the clergy fpared. The prieft is ufually defcribed as living with a 
concubine — his order forbade marrying — and both are conlidered as 
fair game to the community; while the monk figures more frequently 
as the hero of gallant adventures. Both prieft and monk are ufually 
diftinguilhed by their fehifhnefs and love of indulgence. In the fabliau 
Du Bouchier d' Abbeville, in Barbazan (iv. 1), a butcher, on his way 
home from the fair, feeks a night's lodging at the houfe of an inhofpi table 
prieft, who refufes it. But when the former returns, and offers, in 
exchange for his hofpitality, one of his fat fheep which he has purchafed 
at the fair, and not only to kill it for their fupper, but to give all the 
meat they do not eat to his holt, he is willingly received into the houfe, 
and they make an excellent fupper. By the promife of the fkin of the 
fheep, the gueft fucceeds in feducing both the concubine and the maid- 
fervant, and it is only after his departure the following morning, in 
the middle of a domeftic uproar caufed by the conflicting claims of the 
prieft, the concubine, and the maid, to the pofTeflion of the fkin, that it 
is difcovered that the butcher had ftolen the lheep from the prieft's own 

The fabliaux, as remarked before, form the molt important clafs of 
the extenfive mafs of the popular literature of the middle ages, and the 


1 1 6 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

writers, confident in their ftrong hold upon public favour, fometimes turn 
round and burlefque the literature of other claries, efpecially the long 
heavy monotony of ftyle of the great roman'ces of chivalry and the 
extravagant adventures they contained, as though confcious that they 
were gradually undermining the popularity of the romance writers. 
One of thefe poems, entitled " De Audigier," and printed in Barbazan 
(iv. 217), is a parody on the romance writers and on their ftyle, not 
at all wanting in fpirit or wit, but the fatire is coarfe and vulgar. 
Another printed in Barbazan (iv. 287), under the title "De Berengier," 
is a fatire upon a fort of knight-errantry which had found its way into 
mediaeval chivalry. Berengier was a knight of Lombardy, much given to 
baafting, who had a beautiful lady for his wife. He ufed to leave her 
alone in his caftle, under pretext of fallying forth in fearch of chivalrous 
adventures, a?id, after a while, having well hacked his fword and fhield, 
he returned to vaunt the defperate exploits he had performed. But the 
lady was fhrewd as well as handfome, and, having fome fufpicions of his 
truthfulnefs as well as of his courage, the determined to make trial of 
both. One morning, when her hufband rode forth as ufual, fhe haftily 
difguifed herfelf in a fuit of armour, mounted a good freed, and hurrying 
round by a different way, met the boaftful knight in the middle of a 
wood, where he no fooner faw that he had to encounter a real affailant, 
than he difplayed the moft abjecl: cowardice, and his opponent exadted 
from him an ignominious condition as the price of his efcape. On his 
return home at night, boailing as ufual of his fuccefs, he found his lady 
taking her revenge upon him in a ftill lefs refpecTful manner, but he was 
lilenced by her ridicule. 

The Irouveres, or poets, who wrote the fabliaux — I need hardly 
remark that trouvere is the fame word as trolador, but in the northern 
dialed of the French language — appear to have flourifhed chiefly from 
the clofe of the twelfth century to the earlier part of the fourteenth. 
They all compofed in French, which was a language then common to 
England and France, but fome of their compofitions bear internal 
evidence of having been compofed in England, and others are found in 
contemporary manufcripts written in this ifland. The fcene of a fabliau, 


in Literature and Art. 1 1 7 

printed by Meon (i. 113), is laid at Colchefterj and that of La Male 
Honte, printed in Barbazan (iii. 204), is laid in Kent. The latter, 
however, was written by a trouvere named Hugues de Cambrai. No 
objection appears to have been entertained to the recital of thefe 
licentious ilories before the ladies of the caftle or of the domeftic circle, 
and their general popularity was fo great, that the more pious clergy 
feem to have thought neceffary to find Something to take their place in 
the poft-prandial fociety of the monaflery, and efpecially of the nunnery j 
and religious ftories were written in the fame form and metre as the 
fabliaux. Some of thefe have been published under the title of" Contes 
Devots," and, from their general dulnefs, it may be doubted if they 
anfwered their purpofe of furnilhing amufement fo well as the others. 

1 1 8 Hijfory of Caricature and Grotefque 









THE influence of the jougleurs over people's minds generally, with 
their ftories and fatirical pieces, their grimaces, their poftures, and 
their wonderful performances, was very confiderable, and may be eafily 
traced in mediaeval manners and fentiments. This influence would 
naturally be exerted upon inventive art, and when a painter had to adorn 
the margin of a book, or the fculptor to decorate the ornamental parts of 
a building, we might expect the ideas which would firft prefent themfelves 
to him to be thofe fuggefted by the jougleur's performance, for the fame 
tafte had to be indulged in the one as in the other. The fame wit or 
fatire would pervade them both. 

Among the moft popular fubjects of fatire during the middle ages, 
were domeftic fcenes. Domeflic life at that period appears to have been 
in its general character coarfe, turbulent, and, I fhould fay, anything 
but happy. In all its points of view, it prefented abundant fubje&s for 
ieft and burlefque. There is little room for doubt that the Romifh 
Church, as it exifted in the middle ages/ was extremely hoftile to 
domeftic happinefs among the middle and lower claries, and that the 
interference of the prieft in the family was only a fource of domeftic 
trouble. The fatirical writings of the period, the popular tales, the 
difcourfes of thofe who fought reform, even the pictures in the 



Literature and Art. 


manufcripts and the fculptures on the walls invariably reprefent 
the female portion of the family as entirely under the influence of the 
priefts, and that influence as exercifed for the worfi: of purpofes. They 
encouraged faithleflhefs as well as difobedience in wives, and undermined 
the virtue of daughters, and were confequently regarded with anything 
but kindly feeling by the male portion of the population. The prieft, 
the wife, and the hufband, form the ufual leading characters in a 
mediaeval farce. Subjects of this kind are not very unfrequent in the 
illuminations of manufcripts, and more efpecially in the fculptures of 
buildings, and thofe chiefly ecclefiaftical, in which monks or priefts are 

introduced in very equivocal fituations. This part of the fubjecl, however, 
is one into which we fhall not here venture, as we find the mediaeval 
caricaturifts drawing plenty of materials from the lefs vicious fhades of 
contemporary life ; and, in fact, fome of their moft amufing pictures are 
taken from the droll, rather than from the vicious, fcenes of the interior 
of the houfehold. Such fcenes are very frequent on the mifereres of the 
old cathedrals and collegiate churches. Thus, in the flails at Worcefler 
Cathedral, there is a droll figure of a man feated before a fire in a 


1 20 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefaue 

No. 72. An Old Lady 
and her Friends. 

kitchen well flored with flitches of bacon, he himfelf occupied in 
attending to the boiling pot, while he warms his feet, for which purpofe 
he has taken off his fhoes. In a fimilar carving 
in Hereford Cathedral, a man, alfo in the kitchen, 
is feen attempting to take liberties with the 
cook maid, who throws a platter at his head. A 
copy of this curious fubje6t is given in cut No. 71, 
and the cut No. 72 is taken from a fimilar mife- 
rere in Minfter Church, in the Ifle of Thanet. It 
reprefents an old lady feated, occupied induftrioufly 
in fpinning, and accompanied by her cats. 

We might eafily add other examples of 
fimilar fubjects from the fame fources, fuch as 
the fcene in our cut No. 73, taken from one of 
the ftalls of Winchefter Cathedral, which feems to be intended to 
reprefent a witch riding away upon her cat, an enormous animal, whofe 

jovial look is only outdone by that of 
its miftrefs. The latter has carried her 
diftaff with her, and is diligently 
employed in fpinning. A flail in Sher- 
borne Minfter, given in our cut No. 74, 
reprefents a fcene in a fchool, in which 
an unfortunate fcholar is experiencing 
punifhment of a rather fevere defcrip- 
tion, to the great alarm of his com- 
panions, on whom his difgrace is evi- 
dently acting as a warning. The flog- 
ging fcene at fchool appears to have 
been rather a favourite fubjed among 
the early caricaturifts, for the fcourge 
was looked upon in the middle ages as the grand ftimulant to fcholarfhip. 
In thofe good old times, when a man recalled to memory his fchoolboy 
days, he did not fay, " When I was at fchool," but, " When I was under 
the rod." 


No. 73. The Lady and her Cat. 

m Literature and Art. 



An extenfive field for the ftudy of this interefting part of our fubje£t 
will be found in the architectural gallery in the Kenfington Mufeum, 
which contains a large number of carts from flails and other fculptures, 

No. 74. Scholajiic Difdplwe. 

chiefly fele&ed from the French cathedrals. One of thefe, engraved in 
our cut No. 75, reprefents a couple of females, feated before the kitchen 
fire. The date of this fculpture is ftatfd to be 1382. To judge by their 

No. 75. A Point in Dijpute. 

looks and attitude, there is a difagreement between them, and the object 
in difpute feems to be a piece of meat, which one has taken out of the 
pot and placed on a diih. This lady wields her ladle as though Ihe were 

r prepared 

1 22 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

prepared to ufe it as a weapon, while her opponent is armed with tne 
bellows. The ale-pot was not unfrequently the fubjea of pidures of a 
turbulent character, and among the grotefque and monftrous figures in 
the margins of the noble manufcript of the fourteenth century, known as 
the " Luttrell Pfalter," one reprefents two perfonages not only quarrelling 
over their pots, which they appear to have emptied, but actually fighting 


No. 76. Want of Harmony ever the Pot. 

with them. One of them has literally broken his pot over his 
companion's head. The fcene is copied in our cut No. 76. 

It mufl be ftated, however, that the more common fubjects of thefe 
homely fcenes are domeftic quarrels, and that the man, or his wife, 
enjoying their flrefide, or limilar bits of domeftic comfort, only make 
their appearance at rare intervals. Domeftic quarrels and combats 
are much more frequent. We have already feen, in the cut No. 75, 
two dames of the kitchen evidently beginning to quarrel over their 
cookery. A fiall in the church of Stratford-upon-Avon gives us the 
group reprefented in our cut No. 77. The battle has here become 
defperate, but whether the male combatant be an oppreffed hufband or 

in Literature and Art. 


an impertinent intruder, is not clear. The quarrel would feem to have 

arifen during the procefs of cooking, as the female, who has feized her 

opponent by the beard, has evidently 

matched up the ladle a-> the readiest 

weapon at hand. The anger appears to 

be mainly on her fide, and the rather 

tame countenance of her antagonift. 

contrails ftrangely with her inflamed 

features. Our next cut, No. 78, is 

taken from the fculpture of a column 

in Ely Cathedral, here copied from an 

engraving in Carter's " Specimens of 

Ancient Sculpture." A man and wife, 

apparently, are flruggling for the pof- 

feffion of a ftafif, which is perhaps in- 

, n 1 , ^ 1 r n No. 77. Domefiic Strife. 

tended to be the emblem or mattery. 

As is generally reprefented to be the cafe in thefe fcenes of domefiic 

No. 78. A Struggle for the Majiery. 

ftrife, the woman mows more energy an^ more ftrength than her 


124 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

opponent, and the is evidently overcoming him. The maftery of the 
wife over the hufband feems to have been a univerfally acknowledged 
flate of things. A flail in Sherborne Minfler, in Dorfet, which has 

No. 79. The Wife in the AJcendant. 

furnifhed the fubject of our cut No. 79, might almoll be taken as the 
fequel of the laft cut. The lady has poffelfed herfelf of the tlaff, has 
overthrown her hufband, and is even linking him on the head with it 

No. 80. Violence Rejijled. 

when he is down. In our next cut, No. 80, which is taken from one of 
the calls of Halls in the French cathedrals exhibited in the Kenfington 
Mufeum, it is not quite clear which of the two is the offender, but, 



Literature and Art. 125 

perhaps, in this cafe, the archer, as his profeflion is indicated by his bow 
and arrows, has made a gallant affault, which, although Ihe does not look 
much difpleafed at it, the offended dame certainly refills with fpirit. 

One idea connected with this picture of domeilic antagonifm appears 
to have been very popular from a rather early period. There is a 
proverbial phrafe to fignify that the wife is mailer in the houfehold, by 
which it is intimated that " me wears the breeches." The phrafe is, it 
mull be confeffed, an odd one, and is only half underflood by modern 
explanations ; but in mediaeval flory we learn how "lhe" firft put in 
her claim to wear this particular article of drefs, how it was firfl difputed 
and cohtefted, how me was at times defeated, but how, as a general rule, 
the claim was enforced. There was a French poet of the thirteenth 
century, Hugues Piaucelles, two of whofe falliaux, or metrical tales, 
entitled the " Fabliau d'Eflourmi," and the " Fabliau de Sire Hains et de 
Dame Anieufe," are preferved in manufcript, and have been printed 
in the collection of Barbazan. The fecond of thefe relates fome of the 
adventures of a mediaeval couple, whofe houfehold was not the bell 
regulated in the world. The name of the heroine of this flory, Anieufe, 
is limply an old form of the French word ennuyeufe, and certainly dame 
Anieufe was fufficiently " ennuyeufe " to her lord and hufband. "Sire 
Hains," her hufband, was, it appears, a maker of" cottes " and mantles, 
and we fhould judge alfo, by the point on which the quarrel turned, that 
he was partial to a good dinner. Dame Anieufe was of that difagreeable 
temper, that whenever Sire Hains told her of fome particularly nice 
thing which he wilhed her to buy for his meal, Ihe bought inllead fome- 
thing which Ihe knew was difagreeable to him. If he ordered boiled 
meat, Ihe invariably roalled it, and further contrived that it mould be fo 
covered with cinders and aihes that he could not eat it. This would 
fhow that people in the middle ages (except, perhaps, profeflional cooks) 
were very unapt at mailing meat. This Hate of things had gone on for 
fome time, when one day Sire Hains gave orders to his wife to buy him 
fifh for his dinner. The difobedient wife, inllead of buying fifh, provided 
nothing for his meal but a dim of fpinage, telling him falfely that all the 
fifh flank. This leads to a violent quarrel, in which, after fome fierce 


126 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

wrangling, efpecially on the part of the lady, Sire Hains propofes to 
decide their difference in a novel manner. u Early in the morning," he 
faid, " I will take off my breeches and lay them down in the middle of 
the court, and the one who can win them mail be acknowledged to be 
mafter or miftrefs of the houfe." 

Le matinet, Jam contredlre, 
Voudrai mes braies defchaucier, 
Et enmi nojire cort couchier ; 
Et qui conquerre Ies porra, 
Par bone refon mi.ujierra 
S^uil ertjire ou dame du nojire. 

Barbazan, Fabliaux, tome iii. p. 383. 

Dame Anieufe accepted the challenge with eagernefs, and each prepared 
for the ftruggle. After due preparation, two neighbours, friend Symon 
and Dame Aupais, having been called in as witneffes, and the object of 
difpute, the breeches, having been placed on the pavement of the court, 
the battle began, with fome flight parody on the formalities of the 
judicial combat. The firft blow was given by the dame, who was lb 
eager for the fray that me ftruck her hufband before he had put himlelf 
on his guard ; and the war of tongues, in which at leaft Dame Anieufe 
had the belt of it, went on at the fame time as the other battle. Sire 
Hains ventured a flight expostulation on her eagernefs for the fray, in 
anfwer to which the only threw in his teeth a fierce defiance to do his 
worft. Provoked at this, Sire Hains ftruck at her, and hit her over the 
eyebrows, fo effectively, that the fkin was difcolou ed ; and, over-confident 
in the effect of this firft blow, he began rather too foon to exult over his 
wife's defeat. But Dame Anieufe was lefs difconcerted than he expected, 
and recovering quickly from the effect of the blow, me turned upon him 
and ftruck him on the fame part of his face with fuch force, that flie 
nearly knocked him over the fheepfold. Dame Anieufe, in her turn, 
now fneered over him, and while he was recovering from his confufion, 
her eyes fell upon the object of contention, and me ruined to it, and laid 
her hands upon it to carry it away. This movement roufed Sire Hains, 
who inftantly feized another part of the article of his drefs of which he 


in Literature and Art, i 2 7 

was thus in danger of being deprived, and began a ftruggle for poffeffion, 
in which the faid article underwent confiderable dilapidation, and 
fragments of it were fcattered over the court. In the midft of this 
ftruggle the a6tual fight recommenced, by the hufband giving his wife fo 
heavy a blow on the teeth that her mouth was filled with blood. The 
effect was fuch that Sire Hains already reckoned on the victory, and 
proclaimed himfelf lord of the breeches. 

Hains jiert fa fame enmi les den% 
Tel cop, que la bouche deden% 
hi a toute emplie de fanc-z. 
11 Tien ore,'''' difi Sire Hains, " anc, 
ye cuit que je fai bien atainte, 
Or fai-je de deux colors tainte — 
yaurai les braies toutes njoies.' 1 '' 

But the immediate effect on Dame Anieufe was only to render her more 
defperate. She quitted her hold on the difputed garment, and fell upon 
her hufband with fuch a ihower of blows that he hardly knew which way 
to turn. She was thus, however, unconfcioufly exhaumng herfelf, and 
Sire Hains foon recovered. The battle now became fiercer than ever, and 
the lady feemed to be gaining the upper hand, when Sire Hains gave her 
a fkilful blow in the ribs, w r hich nearly broke one of them, and consider- 
ably checked her ardour. Friend Symon here interpofed, with the praife- 
worthy aim of reftoring peace before further harm might be done, but in 
vain, for the lady was only rendered more obflinate by her mifhapj and he 
agreed that it was ufelefs to interfere until one had got a more decided 
advantage over the other. The fight therefore went on, the two com- 
batants having now feized each other by the hair of the head, a mode of 
combat in which the advantages were rather on the fide of the male. 
At this moment, one of the judges, Dame Aupais, lympathifing too much 
with Dame Anieufe, ventured fome words of encouragement, which 
drew upon her a fevere rebuke from her colleague, Symon, who intimated 
that if (he interfered again there might be two pairs of combatants 
inftead of one. Meanwhile Dame Anieufe was becoming exhaufted. and 
was evidently getting the worft of the conteft, until at length, daggering 


128 Hijtory of Caricature and Grotefque 

from a vigorous puih, fhe fell back into a large baiket which lay behind 
her. Sire Hains flood over her exultingly, and Symon, as umpire, 
pronounced him victorious. He thereupon took polTeffion of the difputed 
article of raiment, and again inverted himfelf with it, while the lady 
accepted faithfully the conditions impofed upon her, and we are aiTured 
by the poet that fhe was a good and obedient wife during the reft of her 
life. In this ftory, which affords a curious picture of mediaeval life, we 
learn the origin of the proverb relating to the polTeffion and wearing of 
the breeches. Hugues Piaucelles concludes his fabliau by recommending 
every man who has a difobedient wife to treat her in the fame manner; 
and mediaeval hufbands appear to have followed his advice, without fear 
of laws againft the ill-treatment of women. 

A fubjecT like this was well fitted for the burlefques on the ftalls, and 
accordingly we find on one of thofe in the cathedral at Rouen, the group 
given in our cut No. 81, which feems to reprefent the part of the ftory 

No. 81. The Fight for the Breeches. 

in which both combatants feize hold of the difputed garment, and 
ftruggle for polTeffion of it. The hufband here grafps a knife in his 
hand, with which he feems to be threatening to cut it to pieces rather 
than give it up. The fabliau gives the victory to the hufband, but the 
wife was generally confidered as in a majority of cafes carrying off the 
prize. In an extremely rare engraving by the Flemifh artift Van Mecken, 
dated in 1480, of which I give a copy in our cut No. 82, the lady, while 


in Literature and Art. 


putting on the breeches, of which fhe has juft become poiTeffed, {hows 
an inclination to lord it rather tyrannically over her other half, whom ihe 
has condemned to perform the domeftic drudgery of the manlion. 

"1 (5^ 

No. 82. The Breeches Won. 

In Germany, where there was full more roughnefs in mediaeval life, 
what was told in England and France as a good ftory of domeftic doings, 
was actually carried into practice under the authority of the laws. The 
judicial duel was there adopted by the legal authorities as a mode of 
fettling the differences between hufband and wife. Curious particulars on 
this fubject are given in an interefting paper entitled " Some obfervations 
on Judicial Duels as practifed in Germany," publiihed in the twenty- 
ninth volume of the Archaeologia of the Society of Antiquaries (p. 348). 
Thefe obfervations are chiefly taken from a volume of directions, accom- 
panied with drawings, for the various modes of attack and defence, 
compiled by Paulus Kail, a celebrated teacher of defence at the court of 
Bavaria about the year 1400. Among thefe drawings we have one 
reprefenting the mode of combat between hufband and wife. The only 
weapon allowed the female, but that a very formidable one, was, 
according to thefe directions, a heavy ftone wrapped up in an elongation 
of her chemile, while her opponent had only a fhort ftatF, and he was 
placed up to the waift in a pit formed in the ground. The following 

s is 

130 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefq 


is a literal translation of the directions given in the manufcript, and 
our cut No. 83 is a copy of the drawing which illuftrates it : — 
" The woman muft be fo prepared, that a ileeve of her chemife extend 
a fmall ell beyond her hand, like a little fack ; there indeed is put 
a ftone weighing three pounds ; and fhe has nothing elfe but her 

No. 83. A Legal Combat. 

chemife, and that is bound together between the legs with a lace. 
Then the man makes himfelf ready in the pit over againft his wife. 
He is buried therein up to the girdle, and one hand is bound at 
the elbow to the fide." At this time the practice of fuch combats in 
Germany feems to have been long known, for it is ftated that in the 
year T200 a man and his wife fought under the fanclion of the civic 
authorities at Bale, in Switzerland. In a picture of a combat between 
man and wife, from a manufcript refembling that of Paulus Kail, 
but executed nearly a century later, the man is placed in a tub inflead 
of a pit, with his left arm tied to his fide as before, and his right holding 
a fhort heavy frafFj while the woman is drefTed, and not ftripped to the 


in Literature and Art. 

! 3i 

chemife, as in the former cafe. The man appears to be holding the 
Hick in fuch a manner that the fling in which the ftone was contained 
would twin: round it, and the woman would thus be at the mercy of her 
opponent. In an ancient manufcript on the fcience of defence in the 
library at Gotha, the man in the tub is reprefented as the conqueror 
of his wife, having thus dragged her head-fore moll into the tub, where 
flie appears with her legs kicking up in the air. 

This was the orthodox mode of combat between man and wife, 
but it was fometimes practifed under more fanguinary forms. In 
one picture given from thefe old books on the fcience of defence by 
the writer of the paper on the fubjecl; in the Archaeologia, the two 
combatants, naked down to the waift, are reprefented fighting with 
fharp knives, and inflicting upon each other's bodies frightful gafhes. 

A feries of flail carvings at Corbeil, near Paris, of which more will 
be faid a little farther on in this chapter, has furnifhed the curious group 
reprefented in our cut No. 84, which is one of the rather rare pi6loriai 

No. 84. The Witch and the Demon, 

allufions to the fubje6l of witchcraft. It reprefents a woman who rnuit, 
by her occupation, be a witch, for fhe has fo far got the maflery of the 
demon that fhe is fawing off his head with a very uncomfortable iooking 


inftrument. Another flory of witchcraft is told in the fculpture of a 
ftone panel at the entrance of the cathedral of Lyons, which is repre- 
fented in our cut No. 8j. One power, fuppofed to be poffefled by- 
witches, was that of transforming people to animals at will. William of 
Malmeibury, in his Chronicle, tells a flory of two witches in the 

No. 85. The Witch and her Viclim. 

neighbourhood of Rome, who ufed to allure travellers into their cottage, 
and there transform them into horfes, pigs, or other animals, which they 
fold, and feafled themfelves with the money. One day a young man, 
who lived by the profefnon of a jougleur, fought a night's lodging at 
their cottage, and was received, but they turned him into an afs, and, as 
he retained his understanding and his power of acting, they gained much 
money by exhibiting him. At length a rich man of the neighbourhood, 
who wanted him for his private amufement, offered the two women a 
large fum for him, which they accepted, but they warned the new 
poiTeifor of the afs that he lhould carefully reftrain him from going into 
the water, as that would deprive him of his power of performing. The 
man who had purchafed the afs acted upon this advice, and carefully kept 
him from water, but one day, through the negligence of his keeper, the 


in Literature and Art. 

J 33 

afs efcaped from his liable, and, ruining to a pond at no great diftance, 
threw himfelf into it. Water — and running water efpecially — was 
believed to deflroy the power of witchcraft or magic ; and no fooner was 
the afs immerfed in the water, than he recovered his original form of a 
young man. He told his ilory, which foon reached the ears of the pope, 
and the two women were feized, and confelfed their crimes. The 
carving from Lyons Cathedral appears to reprefent fome fuch fcene of 
forcery. The naked woman, evidently a witch, is, perhaps, feated on a 
man whom fhe has transformed into a goat, and lhe feems to be 
whirling the cat over him in fuch a manner that it may tear his face 
with its claws. 

There was Hill another clafs of fubjects for fatire and caricature which 
belongs to this part of our fubject — I mean that of the trader and 
manufacturer. We mull not fuppofe that fraudulent trading, that 
deceptive and imperfect workmanlhip, that adulteration of everything 
that could be adulterated, are peculiar to modern times. On the 
contrary, there was no period in the world's hillory in which difhonelt 
dealing was carried on to fuch an extraordinary extent, in which there 
was fo much deception ufed in manufactures, or in which adulteration 
was practifed on lo Ihamelefs a fcale, as during the middle ages. Thefe 
vices, or, as we may, perhaps, more properly defcribe them, thefe crimes, 
are often mentioned in the mediaeval writers, but they were not 
ealily reprefented pictorially, and therefore we rarely meet with direct 
allulions to them, either in fculpture, on Hone or wood, or in the paintings 
of illuminated manufcripts. Reprefentations of the trades themfelves 
are not fo rare, and are fometimes droll and almolt burlefque. A 
curious feries of fuch reprefentations of arts and trades was carved 
on the mifereres of the church of St. Spire, at Corbeil, near Paris, 
which only exill now in Millin's engravings, but they feem to have 
been works of the fifteenth century. Among them the firll place 
is given to the various occupations necelfary for the production of bread, 
that article fo important to the fupport of life. Thus we fee, in thefe 
carvings at Corbeil, the labours of the reaper, cutting the wheat and 
forming it into lheaves, the miller carrying it away to be ground into 


i 34 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

meal, and the baker thrufting it into the oven, and drawing it out in the 
fhape of loaves. Our cut No. 86, taken from one of thefe fculptures, 
reprefents the baker either putting in or taking out the bread with his 

No. 86. A Baker of the Fifteenth Century. 

peel ; by the earneft manner in which he looks at it, we may fuppofe 
that it is the latter, and that he is afcertaining if it be mfficiently baked. 
We have an earlier reprefentation of a mediaeval oven in our cut No. 87, 

taken from the celebrated illu- 
minated manufcript of the "Ro- 
mance of Alexandre," in the 
Bodleian Library at Oxford, 
which appears to belong to an 
early period of the fourteenth 
century. Here the baker is evi- 
dently going to take a loaf out 
~] of the oven, for his companion 
holds a difh for the purpofe of 

No. 87. A Medieval Baker. r r 

receiving it. 
In nothing was fraud and adulteration pradifed to fo great an extent 

in Literature and Art, i 3 5 

as in the important article of bread, and the two occupations efpecially 
employed in making it were objects of very great diflike and of fcornful 
fatire. The miller was proverbially a thief. Every reader of Chaucer 
will remember his character fo admirably drawn in that of the miller of 
Trumpington, who, though he was as proud and gay " as eny pecok," 
was neverthelefs eminently difhoneft. 

A theef he ivas for fath of corn and mele, 

And that a Jleigh (sly), and ufyng (practised) for tojiele. 

Chaucer's Reeves Tale. 

This practice included a large college then exifting in Cambridge, but 
now forgotten, the Soler Hall, which fuffered greatly by his depredations. 

And on a day it happed in a founde, 

Syk lay the mauncyple on a maledye, 

Men ivenden ivijly that he fchulde dye ; 

Far iv hie h this meller fial hot he mele and corn 

A thoufend part mare than byforn. 

For ther biforn he fal but curteyfy ; 

But nenv he is a theef outrageoufly. 

For ivhich the ivardeyn chidde and made fare, 

But theroffette the meller not a tare ,• 

He crakked booji, and fzvor it ivas nat fo. 

Two of the fcholars of this college refolved to go with the corn to the 
mill, and by their watchfulnefs prevent his depredations. Thofe who are 
acquainted with the ftory know how the fcholars fucceeded, or rather 
how they failed ; how the miller ftole half a buihel of their flour and 
caufed his wife to make a cake of it; and how the vidtims had their 
revenge and recovered the cake. 

As already dated, the baker had in thefe good old times no better 
character than the miller, if not worfe. There was an old faying, that if 
three perfons of three obnoxious profeffions were put together in a fack 
and fhaken up, the firft who came out would certainly be a rogue, and 
one of thefe was a baker. Moreover, the opinion concerning the baker 
was fo ftrong that, as in the phrafe taken from the old legends of the 
witches, who in their feftivals fat thirteen at a table, this number was 


136 Hiftory of Caricature and Grot ef que 

popularly called a devil's dozen, and was believed to be unlucky — fo, 
when the devil's name was abandoned, perhaps for the fake of euphony, 
the name fubftituted for it was that of the baker, and the number 
thirteen was called "a baker's dozen." The makers of nearly all forts 
of provifions for fale were, in the middle ages, tainted with the fame 
vice, and there was nothing from which fociety in general, efpecially in 
the towns where few made bread for themfelves, fuffered fo much. 
This evil is alluded to more than once in that curious educational treatife, 
the " Di&ionarius " of John de Garlande, printed in my "Volume of 
Vocabularies." This writer, who wrote in the earlier half of the thirteenth 
century, infinuates that the makers of pies (pajiillarii) , an article of food 
which was greatly in repute during the middle ages, often made ufe of 
bad eggs. The cooks, he fays further, fold, efpecially in Paris to the 
fcholars of the univerfity, cooked meats, faufages, and fuch things, 
which were not fit to eat 5 while the butchers furnifhed the meat of 
animals which had died of difeafe. Even the fpices and drugs fold by 
the apothecaries, or epiciers, were not, he fays, to be traded. John de 
Garlande had evidently an inclination to fatire, and he gives way to it 
not unfrequently in the little book of which I am fpeaking. He fays 
that the glovers of Paris cheated the fcholars of the univerfity, by felling 
them gloves made of bad materials ; that the women who gained then 
living by winding thread (devacuatrices , in the Latin of the time), not only 
emptied the fcholars' purfes, but walled their bodies alfo (it is intended as 
a pun upon the Latin word) ; and the huckflers fold them unripe fruit 
for ripe. The drapers, he fays, cheated people not only by felling bad 
materials, but by meafuring them with falfe meafures ; while the hawkers, 
who went about from houfe to houfe, robbed as well as cheated. 

M. Jubinal has publifhed in his curious volume entitled "Jongleurs 
et Trouveres," a rather jocular poem on the bakers, written in French of, 
perhaps, the thirteenth century, in which their art is lauded as much 
better and more ufeful than that of the goldfmith's. The millers' 
depredations on the corn fent to be ground at the mill, are laid to the 
charge of the rats, which attack it by night, and the hens, which find 
their way to it by day ; and he explains the diminution the bakings 


in Literature and Art. 


experienced in the hands of the baker as ariiing out of the charity of the 
latter towards the poor and needy, to whom they gave the meal and 
pafte before it had even been put into the oven. The celebrated Englilh 
poet, John Lydgate, in a fhort poem preferred in a manufcript in the 
Harleian Library in the Britifh Mufeum (MS. Had. No. 2,255, 
fol. 157, v°), defcribes the pillory, which he calJs their Baftile, as 
the proper heritage of the miller and the baker: — 

Put out his hed, lyft nat for to dare, 

But lyk a man upon that tour to abyde, 
For cafi of eggys toil not oonys fpare, 

Tyl he be quallyd body, bah, andfyde. 

His heed endooryd, and of verray pryde 
Put out his armys, fhenuith abroad his face ; 

The feneftr ally s be made for hymfo ivyde, 
Claymytk to been a capteyn of that place. 

The bajiyle longith of verray dewe rvght 

To fals bakery s, it is trcwe herytage 
Scveralle to them, this knciveth every ivygkty 

Be kynde affygned for ther fttyng jlage ,• 

Wheer they may freely Jhetve out ther vifagef 
Whan they tak oonys their poffejjioun, 

Oivthir in youthe or in myddyl age ,• 
Men doon hem ivrong yif they take hym doiun. 

Let mellerys and baker ys gadre hem a gilde, 

And alle of ajjent make a f rater nite", 
Undir the pi/lory a letil chapelle bylde, 

The place amorteyfe, and pur chafe lyberte, 

For alle thos that of ther noumbre be ,• 
What evir it coojl afftir that they ivende, 

They may clayme, be jujl auciorite, 
Upon that baftile to make an ende. 

The wine-dealer and the publican formed another clafs in mediaeval 
fociety who lived by fraud and dilhonefty, and were the objects of fatire. 
The latter gave both bad wine and bad meafure, and he often alfo acted 
as a pawnbroker, and when people had drunk more than they could pay 
for, he would take their clothes as pledges for their money. The tavern, 
in the middle ages, was the refort of very mifcellaneous company; 

t gamblers 

gamblers and loofe women were always on the watch there to lead more 
honeft people into ruin, and the tavern-keeper profited largely by their 
gains ; and the more vulgar minflrel and " jogelour " found employment 
there ; for the middle claries of fociety, and even their betters, frequented 
the tavern much more generally than at the prefent day. Jn the carved 
trails of the church of Corbeil, the liquor merchant is reprefented by the 
figure of a man wheeling a hoglhead in a barrow, as mown in our cut 
No. 88. The gravenefs and air of importance with which he regards it 

The Wine Dealer. 

would lead us to fuppofe that the barrel contains wine ; and the cup and 
jug on the ihelf above mow that it was to be fold retail. The wine- 
fellers called out their wines from their doors, and .boafted of their 
qualities, in order to tempt people in ; and John de Garlande allures us 
that when they entered, they were ferved with wine which was not 
worth drinking. "The criers of wine," he fays, "proclaim with 
extended throat the diluted wine they have in their taverns, offering 
it at four pennies, at fix, at eight, and at twelve, frefh poured out 
from the gallon calk into the cup, to tempt people." ("Volume of 
Vocabularies,' ' p. 126.) The ale-wife was an efpecial fubject of jell 



Literature and Art. 

T 39 

and fatire, and is not unfrequently reprefented on the pictorial 
monuments of our forefathers. Our cut No. 89 is taken from one of the 

X. 89. The Ah-W 

mifereres in the church of Wellingborough, in Northamptonlhire ; the 
ale-wife is pouring her liquor from her jug 
into a cup to ferve a ruftic, who appears 
to be waiting for it with impatience. 

The figure of the ale-drawer, No. 90, is 
taken from one of the mifereres in the 
pariih church of Ludlow, in Shropihire. 
The fize of his jug is fomewhat difpropor- 
tionate to that of the barrel from which 
he obtains the ale. The lame mifereres 
of Ludlow Church furnifh the next fcene, 
cut No. 91, which reprefents the end of 
the wicked ale-wife. The day of judgment 
is fuppcfed to have arrived, and {he has 
received her fentence. A demon, feated on one fide, is reading a lift of 


No. 90. 

The Ale- Drawer 

1 40 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

the crimes Ihe has committed, which the magnitude of the parchment 
mows to be a rather copious one. Another demon (whofe head has 
been broken off in the original) carries on his back, in a very irreverent 
manner, the unfortunate lady, in order to throw her into hell- 
mouth, on the other fide of the picture. She is naked with the 
exception of the fathionable head-gear, which formed one of her vanities 

0. 91. The Ale-Wife's End. 

in the world, and the carries with her the falfe meafure with which fhe 
cheated her cuflomers. A demon bagpiper welcomes her on her arrival. 
The fcene is full of wit and humour. 

The ruftic claries, and inftances of their rufticity, are not unfrequently 
met with in thefe interesting carvings. The Halls of Corbeil prefent 
ieveral agricultural fcenes. Our cut No. 92 is taken from thofe of 
Gloucefter cathedral, of an earlier date, and reprefents the three 
ihepherds, aitonifhed at the appearance of the ftar which announced the 
birth of the Saviour of mankind. Like the three kings, the ihepherds 
to whom this revelation was made were always in the middle ages 
reprefented as three in number. In our drawing from the miferere in 
Gloucefter cathedral, the coftume of the ihepherds is remarkably well 



Literature and Art. 

1 4.1 

depi6ted, even to the details, with the various implements appertaining 
to their profeilion, molt of which are fufpended to their girdles. They 
are drawn with much fpirit, and even the dog is well reprefented as 
an efpecially active partaker in the fcene. 

No. 92. The Shepherds of the Eaji. 

Of the two other examples we felect from the mifereres of CorbeiJ, 
the firft reprelents the carpenter, or, as he was commonly called by our 
Angle-Saxon and mediaeval forefathers, the wright, which fignines limply 
the " maker." The application of this higher and more general term — 
for the Almighty himfelf is called, in the Anglo-Saxon poetry, ealra 
gefcefta wyrhta, the Maker, or Creator, of all things — ihows how 
important an art that of the carpenter was considered in the middle ages. 
Everything made of wood came within his province. In the Anglo- 
Saxon " Colloquy" of archbilhop Alfric, where feme of the more ufeful 
artifans are introduced difputing about the relative value of their feveral 
crafts, the "wright" fays, "Who of you can do without my craft, lince 
I make houfes and all forts of veflels (vafa), and fhips for you all?" 
("Volume of Vocabularies," p. 11.) And John de Garlande, in the 
thirteenth century, defcribes the carpenter as making, among other 
things, tubs, and barrels, and wine-cades. The workmanihip of thofe 
times was exercifed, before all other materials, on wood and metals, and 


142 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

the wright, or worker in the former material, was diftinguiihed by this 

No. 93. The Carpenter. 

circumftance from the fmith, or worker in metal. The carpenter is ftill 
called a wright in Scotland. Our laft cut (No. 94), taken alfo from one 


No. 94. The Shoemaker. 

of the mifereres at Corbeil, reprefents the fhoemaker, or as he was then 


in Literature and Art. 143 

ufually called,, the cordwainer, becaufe the leather which he chiefly ufed 
came from Coidova in Spain, and was thence called cordewan, or 
cordewaine. Our fhoemaker is engaged in cutting a fkin of leather with 
an inftrument of a rather lingular form. Shoes, and perhaps forms for 
making ihoes, are fufpended on pegs againfl the wall. 










THE grimaces and flrange pofrares of the jougleurs feem to have had 
great attractions for thofe who witnefTed them. To unrefined and 
uneducated minds no object conveys fo perfect a notion of mirth as an 
ugly and diftorted face. Hence it is that among the common peafantry 
at a country fair few exhibitions are more fatisfactory than that of 
grinning through a horfe-collar. This fentiment is largely exemplified 
in the fculpture efpecially of the middle ages, a long period, during 
which the general character of fociety prefented that want of refinement 
which we now obferve chiefly in its lean cultivated claries. Among the 
moft common decorations of our ancient churches and other mediaeval 
buildings, are grotefque and monflrous heads and faces. Antiquity, which 
lent us the types of many of thefe inonftronties, faw in her Typhons and 
Gorgons a fignification beyond the furface of the picture, and her 
grotefque mafks had a general meaning, and were in a manner typical of 
the whole field of comic literature. The mafk was lefs an individual 
grotefque to be laughed at for itfelf, than a perfonification of comedy. 
In the middle ages, on the contrary, although in fome cafes certain forms 
were often regarded as typical of certain ideas, in general the defign 
extended no farther than the forms which the artift had given to it ; the 


in Literature and Art. 

J 45 

grotefque features, like the grinning through the horfe-collar, gave 
fatisfaction vy their mere uglinefs. Even the applications, when inch 
figures were intended to have one, were coarfely fatirical, without any 
intellectuality, and, where they had a meani-ng beyond the plain text of 
the fcuipture or drawing, it was not far-fetched, but plain and eafily 
understood. When the Anglo-Saxon drew the face of a bloated and 
disfigured monk, he no doubt intended thereby to proclaim the popular 
notion of the general character of monaflic life, but this was a defign 
which nobody could mifunderftand, an interpretation which everybody 
was prepared to give to it. We have already feen various examples of 
this defcription of fatire, fcattered here and there among the immcnfe 
mafs of grotefque fcuipture which has no fuch meaning. A great 
proportion, indeed, of thefe grotefque fculptures appears to prefent mere 
variations of a certain number of diflinct types which had been handed 
down from a remote period, fome of them borrowed, perhaps involuntarily, 
from antiquity. Hence we naturally look for the earlier and more 
curious examples of this clafs of art to Italy and the fouth of France, 
where the tranfition from claffical to mediaeval was more gradual, and 
the continued influence of claffical forms is more eafily traced. The 
early Chriflian mafons appear to have caricatured under the form of fuch 
grotefques the perfonages of the heathen mythology, and to this practice 
we perhaps owe fome of the types of the mediaeval monflers. We have 
feen in a former chapter a grotefque from the church of Monte Majour, 
near Nifmes, the original type of which had evidently been fome 
burlefque figure of Saturn eating one of his children. The claffical 
malk doubtlefs furnifhed the type for thofe figures, fo common in 
mediaeval fcuipture, of faces with disproportionately large mouths ; juft 
as another favourite clafs of grotefque faces, thofe with diflended mouths 
and tongues lolling out, were taken originally from the Typhons and 
Gorgons of the ancients. Many other popular types of faces rendered 
artificially ugly are mere exaggerations of the distortions produced on the 
features by different operations, fuch, for instance, as that of blowing 
a horn. 

The practice of blowing the horn, is, indeed, peculiarly calculated to 

u exhibit 

1 46 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

exhibit the features of the face to difadvantage, and was not overlooked 
by the defigners of the mediaeval decorative fculpture. One of the large 
collection of calls of fculptures from French cathedrals exhibited in the 
mufeum at South Kenflngton, has furnifhed the two iubjects given in our 
cut No. 95. The firft is reprefented as blowing a horn, but he is 

No. 95. Grotefque Monjiers. 

producing the greater! poffible diftortion in his features, and efpecially in 
his mouth, by drawing the horn forcibly on one fide with his left hand, 
while he pulls his beard in the other direction with the right hand. The 
force with which he is fuppofed to be blowing is perhaps reprefented by 
the form given to his eyes. The face of the lower figure is in at leaft 
comparative repofe. The defign of reprefenting general diftortion in the 
nrft is farther fhown by the ridiculoufly unnatural pofition of the arms. 
Such diftortion of the members was not unfrequently introduced to 
heighten the. effect of the grimace in the face ; and, as in thefe 
examples, it was not uncommon to introduce as a further element of 
grotefque, the bodies, or parts of the bodies, of animals, or even of 


in Literature and Art. 


Another calt in the Kenlington Muieum is the lubje6t of our cut 
No. 96, which prefents the fame idea of ftretching the mouth. The 
fubjecl is here exhibited by another rather mirthful looking individual, 
but whether the exhibitor is intended to be a goblin or demon, or 

■No. 96. Diabolical Mirth. 

whether he is merely furnilhed with the wings and claws of a bat, feems 
rather uncertain. The bat was looked upon as an unpropitious if not an 
unholy animal ; like the owl, it was the companion of the witches, and 
of the fpirits of darknefs. The group in our cut No. 97 is taken from 

No. 97. Making Faces. 

one of the carved flails in the church of Stratford-upon-Avon, and 
reprefents a trio of grimacers. The firli of thefe three grotefque faces is 
lolling out the tongue to an extravagant length ; the fecond is limply 
grinning ; while the third has taken a faufage between his teeth to 


148 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

render his grimace ftill more ridiculous. The number and variety of 
fuch grotefque faces, which we find fcattered over the architectural 
decoration of our old ecclefiaftical buildings, are fo great that I will not 
attempt to give any more particular claffification of them. All this 
church decoration was calculated efpecially to produce its effect upon the 
middle and lower clafles, and mediaeval art was, perhaps more than any- 
thing elfe, fuited to mediaeval fociety, for it belonged to the mafs and not 
to the individual. The man who could enjoy a match at grinning 
through horfe-collars, mull have been charmed by the grotefque works of 
the mediaeval ftone fculptor and wood carver ; and we may add that thefe 
difplay, though often rather rude, a very high degree of fkill in art, a 
great power of producing ftriking imagery. 

Thefe mediaeval artifts loved alfo to produce horrible objects as well as 
laughable ones, though even in their horrors they were continually 
running into the grotefque. Among the adjuncts to thefe fculptured 
figures, we fometimes meet with inftruments of pain, and very talented 
attempts to exhibit this on the features of the victims. The creed of the 
middle ages gave great fcope for the indulgence of this tafte in the 
infinitely varied terrors of purgatory and hell ; and, not to fpeak of 
the more crude defcriptions that are fo common in mediaeval popular 
literature, the account to which thefe defcriptions might be turned by the 
poet as well as the artift are well known to the reader of Dante. Coils 
of ferpents and dragons, which were the moft ufual inftruments in the 
tortures of the infernal regions, were always favourite objects in mediaeval 
ornamentation, whether fculptured or drawn, in the details of architectural 
decoration, or in the initial letters and margins of books. They are often 
combined in forming grotefque tracery with the bodies of animals or of 
human beings, and their movements are generally hcftile to the latter. 
We have already feen, in previous chapters, examples of this ufe of 
ferpents and dragons, dating from the earlieft periods of mediaeval art j 
and it is perhaps the moft common flyle of ornamentation in the 
buildings and illuminated manufcripts in our illand from the earlier 
Saxon times to the thirteenth century. This ornamentation is fometimes 
itrikingly bold and effective. In the cathedral of Wells there is a feries 



Literature and Art. 


of ornamental boffes, formed by faces writhing under the attacks of 
numerous dragons, who are feizing upon the lips, eyes, and cheeks of 
their victims. One of theie boffes, which are of the thirteenth century, 
is reprefented in our cut No. 98. A large, coarfely featured face is the 

No. 98. Horror. 

victim of two dragons, one of which attacks his mouth, while the other has 
feized him by the eye. The expreffion of the face is ftrikingly horrible. 

The higher mind of the middle ages loved to fee inner meanings 
through outward forms 3 or, at leaft, it was a faihion which manitefted 
itfelf moft ftrongly in the latter half of the twelfth century, to adapt 
thefe outward forms to inward meanings by comparifons and moralifa- 
tions ; and under the effect of this feeling certain figures were at times 
adopted, with a view to fome other purpofe than mere ornament, though 
this was probably an innovation upon mediaeval art. The tongue lolling 
out, taken originally, as we have feen, from the imagery of claffic times, 
was accepted rather early in the middle ages as the emblem or fymbol of 
luxury ; and, when we find it among the fculptured ornaments of the 
architecture efpecially of fome of the larger and more important churches, 
it implied probably an allulion to that vice — at leaft the face prefented to 
us was intended to be that of a voluptuary. Among the remarkable 


150 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

feries of fculptures which crown the battlements of the cloifters of 
Magdalen College, Oxford, executed a very few years after the middle of 
the fifteenth century, amid many figures of a very mifcellaneous character, 
there are feveral which were thus, no doubt, intended to be reprefen- 
tatives of vices, if not of virtues. I give two examples of thefe curious 

No. 99. Gluttony. 

No. 1 00. Luxury. 

The firft, No. 99, is generally considered to reprefent gluttony, and it 
is a remarkable circumftance that, in a building the character of which 
was partly ecclefiaftical, and which was erected at the expenfe and under 
the directions of a great prelate, Bifhop Wainflete, the vice of gluttony, 
with which the ecclefiaftical order was efpecially reproached, mould be 
reprefented in ecclefiaftical coftume. It is an additional proof that the 
detail of the work of the building was left entirely to the builders. The 
coarfe, bloated features of the face, and the " villainous " low forehead, 


in Literature and Art. 


are chara6teri(tically executed ; and the lolling tongue may perhaps be 
intended to intimate that, in the lives of the clergy, luxury went hand in 
with its kindred vice. The fecond of our examples, No. 100, appears by 
its different characteriftics (fome of which we have been unable to 
introduce in our woodcut) to be intended to reprefent luxury itfelf. 
Sometimes qualities of the individual man, or 
even the clafs of fociety, are reprefented in 
a manner far lefs difguifed by allegorical 
clothing, and therefore much more plainly to 
the underftanding of the vulgar. Thus in an 
illuminated manufcript of the fourteenth cen- 
tury, in the Britifh Mufeum (MS. Arundel, 
No. 91), gluttony is reprefented by a monk No - l01 ' Monk '^ Glutton y- 
devouring a pie alone and in fccret, except that a little cloven-footed imp 
holds up the dim, and feems to enjoy the profpeft of monaftic indulgence. 
This picture is copied in our cut No. 101. Another manufcript of the 
fame date (MS. Sloane, No. 2435) contains a fcene, copied in our cut 

No. 102. The Monaftic Cellarer. No. 1 03. Drunkennefs. 

No. 102, reprefenting drunkennefs under the form of another monk, who 
has obtained the keys and found his way into the cellar of his monaftery, 
and is there indulging his love for good ale in fimilar fecrecy. It is to be 
remarked that here, again, the vices are laid to the charge of the clergy. 
Our cut No. 103, from a baf-relief in Ely Cathedral, given in Carter's 

" Specimens 

152 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

" Specimens of Ancient Sculpture," reprefents a man drinking from a 
horn, and evidently enjoying his employment, but his coftume is not 
fufficiently chara6teriftic to betray his quality. 

The fubje6t of grotefque faces and heads naturally leads us to that of 
monftrous and grotefque bodies and groups of bodies, which has already 
been partly treated in a former chapter, where we have noticed the 
great love fhown in the middle ages for monftrous animated figures, 
not only monfters of one nature, but, and that efpecially, of figures 
formed by joining together the parts of different, and entirely diffimilar, 

No. 1 04. A Strange Monfter. 

animals, of fimilar mixtures between animals and men. This, as ftated 
above, was often effected by joining the body of fome nondefcript animal 
to a human head and face 5 fo that, by the difproportionate fize of the 
latter, the body, as a fecondary part of the pi&ure, became only an adjunft 
to fet off flill further the grotefque charader of the human face. More 
importance was fometimes given to the body combined with fantaftic 
forms, which baffle any attempt at giving an intelligible defcription. 
The accompanying cut, No. 104, reprefents a winged monfter of this 

kind ; 

in Literature and Art. 


kind; it is taken from one of the cafts from French churches exhibited 
in the Kenfington Mufeum. 

Sometimes the mediaeval artift, without giving any unufual form to 
his human figures, placed them in ftrange poftures, or joined them in 
lingular combinations. Thefe latter are commonly of a playful character, 
or fometimes they reprefent droll feats of (kill, or puzzles, or other 
fubjects, all of which have been publifhed pictorially and for the amufe- 
ment of children down to very recent times. There were a few of thefe 
groups which are of rather frequent occurrence, and they were evidently 
favourite types. One of thefe is given in the annexed cut, No. 105. It 

No. 105. Rolling Tcpjy Turiy. 

is taken from one of the carved mifereres of the flails in Ely cathedral, as 
given in Carter, and reprefents two men who appear to be rolling over 
each other. The upper figure exhibits animal's ears on his cap, which 
feem to proclaim him a member of the fraternity of fools : the ears of 
the lower figure are concealed from view. This group is not a rare one, 
efpecially on fimilar monuments in France, where the architectural 
antiquaries have a technical name for it ; and this Ihows us how even the 
particular forms of art in the middle ages were not confined to any par- 
ticular country, but more or lefs, and with exceptions, they pervaded all 

x thole 

154 Hi ft or y of Caricature and Grotefque 


A Continuous Group. 

thofe which acknowledged the ecclefiaftical fupremacy of the church of 
Rome j whatever peculiarity of ftyle it took in particular countries, the 

fame forms were fpread through 
all weilern Europe. Our next cut, 
No. 1 06, gives another of thefe 
curious groups, confifting, in fa6t, of 
two individuals, one of which is 
evidently an ecclefiaftic. It will 
be fee 11 that, as we follow this 
round, we obtain, by means of the 
two heads, four different figures in fo 
many totally different pofitions. This 
group is taken from one of the very curious feats in the cathedral of 
Rouen in Normandy, which were engraved and publifhed in an 
interefling volume by the late Monfieur E. H. 

Among the moft interefling of the mediaeval 
burlefque drawings are thofe which are found in 
fuch abundance in the borders of the pages of 
illuminated manufcripts. During the earlier 
periods of the mediaeval miniatures, the favourite 
objects for thefe borders were monftrous animals, 
efpecially dragons, which could eafily be twined 
into grotefque combinations. In courfe of time, the 
fubjecfs thus introduced became more numerous, 
and in the fifteenth century they were very varied. 
Strange animals ftill continued to be favourites, but 
they were more light and elegant in their forms, 
and were more gracefully defigned. Our cut 
No. 107, taken from the beautifully-illuminated 
manufcript of the romanceof the"Comte d'Artois," 
of the fifteenth century, which has furniihed us 
previoufly with feveral cuts, will illuftrate my 
The graceful lightnefs of the tracery of the foliage fhown in 


07. Bcrder Ornament. 


in Literature and Art. 

l 55 

this defign is found in none of the earlier works of art of this clafs. 
This, of courfe, is chiefly to be afcribed to the great advance which had 
been made in the art of defign fince the thirteenth century. But, though 
fo greatly improved in the ftyle of art, the fame clafs of fubje&s con- 
tinued to be introduced in this border ornamentation long after the art 
of printing, and that of engraving, which accompanied it, had been 
introduced. The revolution in the ornamentation of the borders of the 
pages of books was effected by the artifts of the fixteenth century, at 
which time people had become better acquainted with, and had learnt to 
appreciate, ancient art and Roman antiquities, and they drew their 
infpiration from a correct knowledge of what the middle ages had copied 
blindly, but had not underftood. Among the fubjects of burlefque which 
the monuments of Roman art prefented to them, the ftumpy figures of 
the pigmies appear to have gained fpecial favour, and they are employed 
in a manner which reminds us of the pictures found in Pompeii. Jolt 
Amman, the well-known artift, who exercifed his profeffion at Nurem- 
berg in the latter half of the fixteenth century, engraved a fet of 

A Triumphal ProceJJivr. 

illuftrations to Ovid's Metamorphofes, which were printed at Lyons in 
1^74, and each cut and page of which is enclofed in a border of very 
fanciful and neatly-executed burlefque. The pigmies are introduced in 
thefe borders very freely, and are grouped with great fpirit. I felect as an 
example, cut No. 108, a fcene which reprefents a triumphal procemon — 


156 Hi/iory of 'Caricature and Grotefque 

fome pigmy Alexander returning from his conquefts. The hero is feated 
on a throne carried by an elephant, and before him a bird, perhaps a 
vanquished crane, proclaims loudly his praife. Before them a pigmy 
attendant marches proudly, carrying in one hand the olive branch of 
peace, and leading in the other a ponderous but captive oftrich, as a 
trophy of his mailer's victories. Before him again a pigmy warrior, 
heavily armed with battle-axe and falchion, is mounting the Heps of a 
ftage, on which a nondefcript animal, partaking fomewhat of the 
character of a fow, but perhaps intended as a burlefque on the ftrange 
animals which, in mediaeval romance, Alexander was faid to have 
encountered in Egypt, blows a horn, to celebrate or announce the return 
of the conqueror. A fnail, alfo advancing ilowly up the ftage, implies, 
perhaps, a fneer at the whole fcene. 

Neverthelefs, thefe old German, Flemifh, and Dutch artifts were ftill 
much influenced by the mediaeval fpirit, which they difplayed in their 
coarfe and clumfy imagination, in their neglect of everything like 
congruity in their treatment of the fubject with regard to time and 
place, and their naive exaggerations and blunders. Extreme examples of 
thefe characteriftics are fpoken of, in which the Ifraelites croffing the Red 
Sea are armed with mutkets, and all the other accoutrements of modern 
foldiers, and in which Abraham is preparing to facrifice his fon Ifaac by 
mooting him with a matchlock. In delineating fcriptural fubjects, an 
attempt is generally made to clothe the figures in an imaginary ancient 
oriental coftume, but the landfcapes are filled with the modem caftles 
and manfion houfes, churches, and monalleries of weftern Europe. 
Thefe half-mediaeval artifts, too, like their more ancient predeceflbrs, 
often fall into unintentional caricature by the exaggeration or Simplicity 
with which they treat their fubjects. There was one fubject which the 
artifts of this period of regeneration of art feemed to have agreed to 
treat in a very unimaginative manner. In the beautiful Sermon on the 
Mount, our Saviour, in condemning hafty judgments of other people's 
adions, fays (Matt. vii. 3 — 5), " And why beholdeft thou the mote that 
is in thy brother's eye, but conlidereft not the beam that is in thine 
own eye ? Or how wilt thou fay to thy brother, Let me pull out the 


in Literature and Art. 

l S7 

mote out of thine eye, and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye ? Thou 
hypocrite, htft call out the beam out of thine own eye, and then malt 
thou fee clearly to call out the mote out of thy brother's eye." What- 
ever be the exact nature of the beam which the man was expected to 
overlook in his " own eye," it certainly was not a large beam of timber. 
Yet fuch was the conception of it by artills of the fixteenth century. 
One of them, named Solomon Bernard, detigned a feries of woodcuts 
illuflrating the New Teftament, which were published at Lyons in 1553 : 
and the manner in which he treated the fubject will be feen in our cut 
No. 109, taken from one of the illuftrations to that book. The individual 

No. 109. The Mete and the Beam. 

feated is the man who has a mote in his eye, which the other, approach- 
ing him, points out ; and he retorts by pointing to the " beam," which is 
certainly fuch a mafTive object as could not eafily have been overlooked. 
About thirteen years before this, an artifl of Augfburg, named Daniel 
Hopfer, had publifhed a large copper-plate engraving of this fame fubjed, 
a reduced copy of which is given in the cut No. 110. The individual 
who fees the mote in his brother's eye, is evidently treating it in the 


1 5 8 Hijiory of Caricature and Crotefque 

chara&er of a phyfician or furgeon. It is only neceffary to add that the 
beam in his own eye is of ftill more extraordinary dimenfions than the 
former, and that, though it feems to efcape the notice both of himfelf 

Ko. Ho. The Mote and the Beam — Another Treatment. 

and his patient, it is evident that the group in the diftance contemplate it 
with aftonifhment. The building accompanying this fcene appears to be 
a church, with paintings of faints in the windows. 

in Literature and Art. 159 








IN a previous chapter I have fpoken of a clafs of fatirical literature 
which was entirely popular in its character. Not that on this account 
it was original among the peoples who compofed mediaeval fociety, for 
the intellectual development of the middle ages came almoft all from 
Rome through one medium or other, although we know fo little of the 
details of the popular literature of the Romans that we cannot always 
trace it. The mediaeval literature of weftern Europe was moftly modelled 
upon that of France, which was received, like its language, from Rome. 
But when the great univerfity fyftem became eftablifhed, towards the end 
of the eleventh century, the fcholars of weftern Europe became more 
directly acquainted with the models of literature which antiquity had left 
them ; and during the twelfth century thefe found imitators fo ikilful that 
fome of them almoft deceive us into accepting them for claffical writers 
themfelves. Among the nrft of thefe models to attract the attention of 
mediaeval fcholars, were the Roman fatirifls, and the ftudy of them 
produced, during the twelfth century, a number of fatirical writers in 
Latin profe and verfe, who are remarkable not only for their boldnefs and 
poignancy, but for the elegance of their flvle. I mav mention among 
thofe of Englifh birth, John of Salisbury, Waiter Mapes, and Giraldus 
Cambrenns, who all wrote in profe, and Nigellus Wireker, already 
mentioned in a former chapter, and John de Hauteville, who wrote in 


160 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

verfe. The iirft of thefe, in his " Polycraticus," Walter Mapes, in his 
book "De Nugis Curialium," and Giraldus. in his " Speculum Ecclefiae," 
and feveral other of his writings, lay the laih on the corruptions and vices 
of their contemporaries with no tender hand. The two moft remarkable 
Englifh fatirifis of the twelfth century were John de Hauteville and 
Nigellus Wireker. The former wrote, in the year 1184, a poem in nine 
books of Latin hexameters, entitled, after the name of its hero, " Archi- 
trenius," or the Arch-mourner. Architrenius is reprefented as a youth, 
arrived at years of maturity, who forrows over the fpectacle of human 
vices and weaknelfes, until he refolves to go on a pilgrimage to Dame 
Nature, in order to expoftulate with her for having made him feeble to 
refirt the temptations of the world, and to entreat her amftance. On his 
way, he arrives fuccefhvely at the court of Venus and at the abode of 
Gluttony, which give him the occafion to dwell at confiderable length 
on the licenfe and luxury which prevailed among his contemporaries. 
He next reaches Paris, and vifits the famous mediaeval univerfity, and his 
fatire on the manners of the ftudents and the fruitleffnefs of their fludies, 
forms a remarkable and interesting picture of the age. The pilgrim 
next arrives at the Mount of Ambition, tempting by its beauty and by the 
{lately palace with which it was crowned, and here we are prefented with 
a fatire on the manners and corruptions of the court. Near to this was 
the Hill of Prefumption, which was inhabited by ecclefiaftics of all claffes, 
great fcholaftic doctors and profefTors, monks, and the like. It is a 
fatire on the manners of the clergy. As Architrenius turns from this 
painful fpectacle, he encounters a gigantic and hideous monfler named 
Cupidity, is led into a feries of reflections upon the greedinefs and 
avarice of the prelates, from which he is roufed by the uproar caufed by 
a fierce combat between the prodigals and the mifers. He is fubfequently 
carried to the ifland of far-diflant Thule, which he finds to be the refiing- 
place of the philofophers of ancient Greece, and he liftens to their 
declamations againfl the vices of mankind. After this vifit, Architrenius 
reaches the end of his pilgrimage. He finds Nature in the form of a 
beautiful woman, dwelling with a hoft of attendants in the midft of a 
flowery plain, and meats with a courteous reception, but fhe begins by 


in Literature and Art, 1 6 1 

giving him a long lecture on natural philofophy. After this is concluded, 
Dame Nature Mens to his complaints, and, to confole him, gives him a 
handfome woman, named Moderation, for a wife, and difmiiTes him with 
a chapter of good counfels on the duties of married life. The general 
moral intended to be inculcated appears to be that the retirement of 
domeftic happinefs is to be preferred to the vain and heartlefs turmoils of 
active life in all its phafes. It will be feen that the kind of allegory 
which fubfequently produced the ''Pilgrim's Progrefs," had already made 
its appearance in mediaeval literature. 

Another of the celebrated fatirifts of the fcholaftic ages was named 
Alanus de Infulis, or Alan of Lille, becaufe he is underftood to have been 
born at Lille in Flanders. Lie occupied the chair of theology for many 
years in the univerfity of Paris with great diitin&ion, and his learning was 
fo extenfive that he gained the name of do6ior univ erf alls, the univerfal 
doctor. In one of his books, which is an imitation of that favourite book 
in the middle ages "Boethius de Confolatione Philofophiae," Dame Nature, 
in the place of Philofophy— not, as in John de Hauteville, as the referee, 
but as the complainant — is introduced bitterly lamenting over the deep 
depravity of the thirteenth century, efpecially difplayed in the prevalence, 
of vices of a revolting character. This work, which, like Boethius, confifts 
of alternate chapters in verfe and profe, is entitled " De Planclu Naturae," 
the lamentation of nature. I will not, however, go on here to give a 
lift of the graver fatirical writers, but we will proceed to another clafs of 
fatirifts which fprang up among the mediaeval fcholars, more remarkable 
and more peculiar in their character — I mean peculiar to the middle ages. 

The fatires of the time mow us that the ftudents in the universities 
in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, who enjoyed a great amount 
of independence from authority, were generally wild and riotous, and, 
among the vaft number of youths who then devoted themfelves to a 
fcholaftic life, we can have no doubt that the habit of diflipation became 
permanent. Among thefe wild ftudents there exifted, probably, far more 
wit and fatirical talent than among their fteadier and more laborious 
bretlnen, and this wit, and the manner in which it was difplayed, made 
its poffeffors welcome gueits at the luxurious tables of the higher and 

y richer 

1 6 2 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

richer clergy, at which Latin feems to have been the language in ordinary 
ufe. In all probability it was from this circumftance (in allufion to the 
Latin word gula, as intimating their love of the table) that thefe merry 
fcholars, who difplayed in Latin fome of the accomplifhments which the 
jougleurs profeffed in the vulgar tongue, took or received the name of 
goliards (in the Latin of that time, goliardi, or goliardenfcs) * The 
name at leaft appears to have been adopted towards the end of the 
twelfth century. In the year 1229, during the minority of Louis IX., 
and while the government of France was in the hands of the queen- 
mother, troubles arofe in the univeriity of Paris through the intrigues of 
the papal legate, and the turbulence of the fcholars led to their difperfion 
and to the temporary clofing of the fchools ; and the contemporary 
hiftorian, Matthew Paris, tells us how " fome of the fervants of the 
departing fcholars, or thofe whom we ufed to call goliardenfes," com- 
pofed an indecent epigram on the rumoured familiarities between the 
legate and the queen. But this is not the firft mention of the goliards, 
for a flatute of the council of Treves, in 1227, forbade " all priefls to 
permit truants, or other wandering fcholars, or goliards, to ling verfes or 
Sanclus and Angelus Dei in the fervice of the mafs."f This probably 
refers to parodies on the religious fervice, fuch as thofe of which I mall 
foon have to fpeak. From this time the goliards are frequently mentioned. 
In ecclefiaftical ftatutes publifhed in the year 1289, it is ordered that the 
clerks or clergy {clerici, that is, men who had their education in the 
univerfity) fhould not be jougleurs, goliards, or buffoons j"| and the fame 
ftatute proclaims a heavy penalty againft thofe clerici "who perfift in the 


* In the mediaeval Latin, the word goliardia was introduced to express the pro- 
fession of the goliard, and the verb goliardizare, to signify the practice of it. 

+ " Item, praecipimus ut omnes sacerdotes non permittant trutannos et alios vagos 
scholares, aut goliardos, cantare versus super San&us et Angelus Dei in missis," etc. 
— Concil. Trevir., an 1227, ap. Marten, et Durand. Ampliss. Coll., vii. col. 117. 

% " Item, prascipimus quod clerici non sint joculatores, goliardi, seu bufones.'" — 
Stat. Synod. Caduacensis, Ruthenensis, et Tutelensis Eccles. ap. Martene, Thes. 
Anecd., iv. col. 7 2 7- 

in Literature and Art, 163 

practice of goliardy or flage performance during a year/'* which mows 
that they exercifed more of the functions of the jougleur than the mere 
finging of fongs. 

Thefe vagabond clerks made for themfelves an imaginary chieftain, or 
president of their order, to whom they gave the name of Golias, probably 
as a pun on the name of the giant who combated againft David, and, to 
mow further their defiance of the exifting church government, they made 
him a bifhop — Golias cpifcopus. Bifhop Golias was the burlefque repre- 
fentative of the clerical order, the general fatirift, the reformer of 
eclefiaftical and all other corruptions. If he was not a doctor of divinity, 
he was a mailer of arts, for he is fpoken of as Magifter Golias. But 
above all he was the father of the Goliards, the "ribald clerks," as they 
are called, who all belonged to his houfehold,f and they are fpoken of as 
his children. 

Summa falus omnium, Jilius Maria, 
Pa/cat, potato vejliat pueros Golyce ! J 

" May the Saviour of all, the Son of Mary, give food, drink, and clothes 
to the children of Golias!" Still the name was clothed in fo much 
myftery, that Giraldus Cambrenfis, who flourilhed towards the latter end 
of the twelfth century, believed Golias to be a real perfonage, and his 
contemporary. It may be added that Golias not only boaffs of the 
dignity of bifhop, but he appears fometimes under the title of archipoela, 
the archpoet or poet-in-chief. 

Caefarius of Heiflerbach, who completed his book of the miracles of 
his time in the year 1222, tells us a curious anecdote of the character of 
the wandering clerk. In the year before he wrote, he tells us, " It 
happened at Bonn, in the diocefe of Cologne, that a certain wandering 


* " Clerici .... si in goliardia vel histrionatu per annum fuerint.' 1 — lb. col. 729. 
In one of the editions of this statute it is added, "after they have been warned three 

f " Clerici ribaldi, maxime qui vulgo dicuntur defamila Golia." — Concil. Sen. ap. 
Concil., torn. ix. p. 578. 

% See my " Poems of Walter Mapes," p. 70. 

164 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

clerk, named Nicholas, of the clafs they call archpoet, was grievoufly ill, 
and when he fuppofed that he was dying, he obtained from our abbot, 
through his own pleading, and the interceflion of the canons of the fame 
church, admiflion into the order. ' What more ? He put on the tunic, 
as it appeared to us, with much contrition, but, when the danger was 
paft, he took it off immediately, and, throwing it down with derifion, took 
to flight." We learn beft the character of the goliards from their own 
poetry, a considerable quantity of which is preferved. They wandered 
about from manfion to manfion, probably from monastery to monaflery, 
iuft like the jougleurs, but they feem to have been efpecially welcome at 
the tables of the prelates of the church, and, like the jougleurs, betides 
being well feafted, they received gifts of clothing and other articles. In 
few inftances only were they otherwife than welcome, as defcribed in the 
rhyming epigram printed in my " Latin Poems attributed to Walter 
Mapes." " I come uninvited," fays the goliard to the bifhop, " ready for 
dinner; fuch is my fate, never to dine invited." The biihop replies, "I 
care not for vagabonds, who wander among the fields, and cottages, and 
villages 5 fuch guefts are not for my table. I do not invite you, for I 
avoid fuch as you j yet without my will you may eat the bread you afk. 
Wafh, wipe, fit, dine, drink, wipe, and depart." 

Non in-vitatus vettio p r andere paratus ; 
Sic Jum fatatus, nunquam prandere -uocatus. 

Non ego euro vagos, qui rura, mapalia, pagos 
Perlujirant, tales non -vult tnea men ja Jo dales. 
Te non invito, tihi conjimiles ego vitc ; 
Me tatnen invito potieris pane petito. 
Ablue, terge, fede, prande, bibe, terge, recede. 

In another iimilar epigram, the goliard complains of the biihop who 
had given him as his reward nothing but an old worn-out mantle. Mori 
of the writers of the goliardic poetry complain of their poverty, and 
fome of them admit that this poverty arofe from the tavern and the 
love of gambling. One of them alleges as his claim to the liberality of 


in Literature and Art. 165 

his hoft, that, as he was a fcholar, he had not learnt to labour, that his 
parents were knights, but he had no tafte for fighting, and that, in a 
word, he preferred poetry to any occupation. Another fpeaks ftill more 
to the point, and complains that he is m danger of being obliged to fell 
his clothes. " If this garment of vair which I wear," he fays, " be fold 
for money, it will be a great difgrace to me ; I would rather fuffer a long 
fall. A bifhop, who is the moll generous of all generous men, gave me 
this cloak, and will have for it heaven, a greater reward than St. Martin 
has, who only gave half of his cloak. It is needful now that the poet's 
want be relieved by your liberality [addrefling his hearers] ; let noble men 
give noble gifts — gold, and robes, and the like." 

Si 'vendatur* propter denarium 
Indumentum quod porto varium, 
Grande mihi jiet opprobrium ; 
Malo diu pati jejunium. 
Largijfimus largorum omnium 
Prceful dedit mihi hoc pallium, 
Majus habens in calis pramium 
S^uam Martinus, qui dedit medium. 
Nunc eft opus ut veftra copia 
Skblcvetur vatis inopia ; 
Dent nobiles dona nobilia, — 
Aurum, veftes, et hhjimilia. 

There has been fome difference of opinion as to the country to which 
this poetry more efpecially belongs. Giraldus Cambrenfis, writing at the 
end of the twelfth or the beginning of the thirteenth century, evidently 
thought that Golias was an Englifhman 3 and at a later date the goliardic 
poetry was almofl all afcribed to Giraldus's contemporary and friend, the 
celebrated humourift, Walter Mapes. This was, no doubt, an error. 
Jacob Grimm feemed inclined to claim them for Germany ; but Grimm, 
on this occafion, certainly took a narrow view of the queftion. We fhall 
probably be more correct in faying that they belonged in common to all 
the countries over which univerfity learning extended ; that in whatever 
country a particular poem of this clafs was compofed, it became the 
property of the whole body of thefe fcholaftic jougleurs, and that it was 


1 66 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

thus carried from one land to another, receiving fometimes alterations or 
additions to adapt it to each. Several of thefe poems are found in 
manufcripts written in different countries with fuch alterations and 
additions, as, for inftance, that in the well-known " Confeffion," in the 
Englifh copies of which we have, near the conclufion, the line — 

Preejul Coventrenjium, farce confitenti ; 

an appeal to the bifhop of Coventry, which is changed, in a copy in a 
German manufcript, to 

EleEle Coloma^ farce poenitently 

" O elect of Cologne, fpare me penitent." From a comparifon of what 
remains of this poetry in manufcripts written in different countries, it 
appears probable that the names Golias and goliard originated in the 
univerfity of Paris, but were more efpecially popular in England, while the 
term archipoeta was more commonly ufed in Germany. 

In 1 841 I collected all the goliardic poetry which I could then find 
in Englifh manufcripts, and edited it, under the name of Walter Mapes, 
as one of the publications of the Camden Society.* At a rather later 
date I gave a chapter of additional matter of the fame defcription in my 
" Anecdota Literaria."f All the poems I have printed in thefe two 
volumes are found in manufcripts written in England, and fome of them 
are certainly the competitions of Englilh writers. They are diftinguifhed 
by remarkable facility and eafe in verification and rhyme, and by great 
pungency of fatire. The latter is directed efpecially againft the clerical 
order, and none are fpared, from the pope at the fummit of the fcale 
down to the loweft of the clergy. In the " Apocalypfis Goliae," or Golias's 
Revelations, which appears to have been the moft popular of all thefe 


* The Latin Poems commonly attributed to Walter Mapes, collected and edited 
by Thomas Wright, Esq., 4to., London, 1841. 

t " Anecdota Literaria ; a Collection of Short Poems in English, Latin, and 
French, illustrative of the Literature and History of England in the Thirteenth 
Century." Edited by Thomas Wright, Esq, 8vo., London, 1844. 

in Literature and Art. 1 67 

poems,* the poet defcribes himfelf as carried up in a vifion to heaven, 
where the vices and diforders of the various claries of the popifh clergy are 
fucceffively revealed to him. . The pope is a devouring lion; in his eager- 
nefs for pounds, he pawns books ; at the fight of a mark of money, he 
treats Mark the Evangelift with disdain ; while he fails aloft, money alone 
is his anchoring-place. The original lines will ferve as a fpecimen of 
the ftyle of thefe curious compofitions, and of the love of punning which 
was fo charatteriftic of the liteiature of that age : — 

Eft leo pontifex Jummus, qui clever at, 
Qui librasjitiens, libros impignorat ; 
Mar cam rejpiciet, Marcum dedecorat ,• 
Infumtnis na-vigans, in nummis anchor at. 

The bifhop is in hafte to intrude himfelf into other people's paftures, and 
fills himfelf with other people's goods. The ravenous archdeacon is com- 
pared to an eagle, becaufe he has fharp eyes to fee his prey afar off, and 
is fwift to feize upon it. The dean is reprefented by an animal with a 
man's face, full of filent guile, who covers fraud with the form of juitice, 
and by the thow of fimplicity would make others believe him to be pious. 
In this fpirit the faults of the clergy, of all degrees, are minutely criticifed 
through between four and five hundred lines 5 and it muft not be forgotten 
that it was the Englifh clergy whole character was thus expofed. 

Tu fcribes etiam, forma Jed alia, 
Septem ecclefiis quae Junt in Anglia. 

Others of thefe pieces are termed Sermons, and are addreffed, fome to 
the bifhops and dignitaries of the church, others to the pope, others to 
the monailic orders, and others to the clergy in general. The court of 
Rome, we are told, was infamous for its greedinefs ; there all right and 
juitice were put up for fale, and no favour could be had without money.* 
In this court money occupies everybody's thoughts ; its crofs — i. e. the mark 


* In my edition I have collated no less than sixteen copies which occur among 
the MSS. in the British Museum, and in the libraries at Oxford and Cambridge, 
and there are, no doubt, many more. 

1 68 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

on the reverfe of the coin — its roundnefs, and its whitenefs, all pleafe the 
Romans ; where money fpeaks law is filent. 

Nummis in hac curia non eji qui non vacet ; 
Crux placet, rotunditas, et albedo placet, 
Et cum totum placeat, et Romanis placet, 
Ubi nummus loquitur, et lex omnis tacet. 

Perhaps one of the moll curious of thefe poems is the " Confeffion of 
Golias," in which the poet is made to fatirife himfelf, and he thus gives 
us a curious picture of the goliard's life. He complains that he is made 
of light material, which is moved by every wind ; that he wanders about 
irregularly, like the Ihip on the fea or the bird in the air, feeking worth- 
lefs companions like himfelf. He is a Have to the charms of the fair fex. 
He is a martyr to gambling, which often turns him out naked to the cold, 
but he is warmed inwardly by the infpiration of his mind, and he writes 
better poetry than ever. Lechery and gambling are two of his vices, and 
the third is drinking. " The tavern," he fays, " I never defpifed, nor 
{hall I ever defpife it, until I fee the holy angels coming to fing the 
eternal requiem over my corpfe. It is my defign to die in the tavern ; let 
wine be placed to my mouth when I am expiring, that when the choirs 
of angels come, they may fay, ' Be God propitious to this drinker ! ' The 
lamp of the foul is lighted with cups j the heart fteeped in nectar flies up 
to heaven ; and the wine in the tavern has for me a better flavour than 

that which the bifhop's butler mixes with water Nature gives to 

every one his peculiar gift : I never could write falling; a boy could beat 
me in compofition when I am hungry; I hate thirft and falling as much 
as death." 

Tertio capitulo memoro tabernam : 
Illam nullo tempore fprevi, neque f per nam, 
Donee janclos angelos -venientes cernam, 
Cant antes pro mortuo requiem ate mam. 

M.eum eji propojttum in taberna mori ; 
Vindum fit appojitum morientis ori, 
Ut dicant cum venerint angelorum chori y 
1 Deusjit propitius huic potatori ! ' 


in Literature and Art, 169 

Poculis accenditur animi lucerna ; 
Cor imbutum ne&are -volat ad juperna : 
Mihi fapit dulcius vinum in taberna, 
S^uam quod aqua mijcu'it prcejulu pincerna. 

* # * # * * * 
Unicuique propr'ium dat tiatura murtus : 
Ego nunquam potui jcribere jejunus ,• 
Me jejunum vincere pojfet puer unus ; 
Sitim et jejumum odi tanquam junus* 

Another of the more popular of thefe goliardic poems was the advice of 
Golias againil marriage, a grofs fatire upon the female fex. Contrary to 
what we might perhaps expect from their being written in Latin, many 
of thefe metrical fatires are directed againft the vices of the laity, as well 
as againil thofe of the clergy. 

In 1844 the celebrated German fcholar, Jacob Grimm, publiihed in 
the " Tranfactions of the Academy of Sciences at Berlin" a felection of 
goliardic verfes from manufcripts in Germany, which had evidently been 
written by Germans, and fome of them containing allunons to German 
affairs in the thirteenth century.f They prefent the fame form of verfe 
and the fame ftyle of fatire as thofe found in England, but the name of 
Golias is exchanged for archipoeta, the archpoet. Some of the flanzas 
of the " Confeffion of Golias " are found in a poem in which the archpoet 
addrelfes a petition to the archchancellor for afliftance in his diftrefs, and 
confefTes his partiality for wine. A copy of the Confeffion itfelf is alio found 
in this German collection, under the 'Jtle of the "Poet's Confeffion." 

The Royal Library at Munich contains a very important manufcript of 
this goliardic Latin poetry, written in the thirteenth century. It belonged 
originally to one of the great Benedictine abbeys in Bavaria, where it appears 
to have been very carefully preferred, but ftill with an apparent confciouf- 
nefs that it was not exactly a book for a religious brotherhood, which led 

* Poems attributed to Walter Mapes, p. 73. The stanzas here quoted, with 
some others, were afterwards made up into a drinking song, which was rather 
popular in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 

f " Gedichte des Mittelalters auf Konig Friedrich I. den Staufar, und aus seiner 
so wie der nachstfolgenden Zeit," 4to. Separate copies of this work were printed 
off and distributed among mediaeval scholars 


170 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

the monks to omit it in the catalogue of their library, no doubt as a book 
the poffeffion of which was not to be proclaimed publicly. When written, 
it was evidently intended to be a careful felection of the poetry of this clafs 
then current. One part of it confiils of poetry of a more ferious character, 
fuch as hymns, moral poems, and efpecially fatirical pieces. In this clafs 
there are more than one piece which are alio found in the manufcripts 
written in England. A very large portion of the collection confiils of love 
fongs, which, althougn evidently treafured by the Benedictine monks, are 
fometimes licentious in character. A third clafs confiils of drinking and 
gambling fongs (potatoria et luforia). The general character of this poetry 
is more playful, more ingenious and intricate in its metrical flructure, in 
fact, more lyric than that of the poetry we have been defcribingj yet it 
came, in all probability, from the fame clafs of poets — the clerical jougleurs. 
The touches of fentiment, the defcriptions of female beauty, the admiration 
of nature, are fometimes exprefled with remarkable grace. Thus, the 
green wood fweetly enlivened by the joyous voices of its feathered inhabi- 
tants, the fhade of its branches, the thorns covered with flowers, which, 
fays the poet, are emblematical of love, which pricks like a thorn and then 
foothes like a flower, are taflefully defcribed in the following lines: — 

Cantu nemus avium 

Lafcivia canentium 

Suave delinitur, 

Fronde redimitur, 

Vernant fpince Jioribus 


Venerem fig nantlb us 

Quia fpina pungit, fos blanditur. 

And the following fcrap of the defcription of a beautiful damfel fhows no 
fmall command of language and verfification — 

illicit dulcibus 
Verbis et ofculis, 

Cajiigate tumentibus, 
Rofeo neblareus 
Odor infujus on ; 
Pariter eburneus 
Sedat ordo dentium 
Par tiiveo candor 7. 


in Literature and Art, 171 

The whole contents of this manufcript were printed in 1847, in an o6tavo 
volume,, ifiued by the Literary Society at Stuttgard.* I had already 
printed fome examples of fuch amatory Latin lyric poetry in 1838, in a 
volume of " Early Myfleries and Latin Poems ;"f but this poetry does 
not belong properly to the fubject of the prefent volume, and I pafs on 
from it. 

The goliards did not always write in verfe, for we have fome of their 
profe compositions, and thefe appear efpecially in the form of parodies. 
We trace a great love for parody in the middle ages, which fpared not 
even things the moft facred, and the examples brought forward in the 
celebrated trial of William Hone, were mild in comparifon to fome which 
are found fcattered here and there in mediaeval manufcripts. In my 
Poems, attributed to Walter Mapes,| I have printed a fatire in profe 
entitled " Magifter Golyas de cjuodam ablate' (i.e., Matter Golias's account 
of a certain abbot), which has fomewhat the character of a parody upon a 
faint's legend. The voluptuous life of the fuperior of a monailic houfe is 
here defcribed in a tone of banter which nothing could excel. Several 
parodies, more direct in their character, are printed in the two volumes of 
the " Reliquae Antiquae."§ One of thefe (vol. ii. p. 208) is a complete 
parody on the fervice of the mafs, which is entitled in the original, 
" Miffa de Potatorilus," the Mafs of the Drunkard. In this extraordinary 
composition, even the pater-noller is parodied. A portion of this, with 
great variations, is found in the German collection of the Carmina 
Burana, under the title of Officium Luforum, the Office of the Gamblers. 


* " Carmina Burana. ' Lateinische und Deutsche Lieder und Gedichte einer 
Handschrift des XIII. Jahrhunderts aus Benedictbeurn auf der K. Bibliothek zu 
Munchen." 8vo. Stuttgart, 1847. 

f " Early Mysteries and other Latin Poems of the Twelfth and Thirteenth 
Centuries," edited by Thomas Wright, Esq. 8vo. London, 1838. 

% Introduction, p. xl. 

^ " Reliquiae Antiquae. Scraps from Ancient Manuscripts, illustrating chiefly 
Early English Literature and the English Language." Edited by Thomas 
Wright, Esq., and J. O. Halliwell, Esq. 2 vols. 8vo. Vol. i., London, 1841; 
vol. ii., 1843. 

172 Hi ft or y of Caricature and Grotefque 

In the " Reliquae Antiquae" (ii, 38) we have a parody on the Gofpel of 
St. Luke, beginning with the words, Initium fallacis Evangelii fecundum 
Lupum, this laft word being, of courfe, a fort of pun upon Lucam. Its 
fubje6t alfo is Bacchus, and the fcene having been laid in a tavern in 
Oxford, we have no difficulty in afcribing it to fome fcholar of that 
univernty in the thirteenth century. Among the Carmina Burana we 
find a limilar parody on the Gofpel of St. Mark, which has evidently 
belonged to one of thefe burlefques on the church fervice ; and as it is 
lefs profane than the others, and at the fame time pictures the mediaeval 
hatred towards the church of Rome, I will give a tranllation of it as an 
example of this lingular clafs of compofitions. It is hardly neceffary to 
remind the reader that a mark was a coin of the value of thirteen millings 
and fourpence : — 

" The beginning of the holy gospel according to Marks of silver. At that time 
the pope said to the Romans : ' When the son of man shall come to the seat of 
our majesty, first say, Friend, for what hast thou come ? But if he should persevere 
in knocking without giving you anything, cast him out into utter darkness. 1 And 
it came to pass, that a certain poor clerk came to the court of the lord the pope, and 
cried out, saying, c Have pity on me at least, you doorkeepers of the pope, for the 
hand of poverty has touched me. For I am needy and poor, and therefore I seek 
your assistance in my calamity and misery.' But they hearing this were highly 
indignant, and said to him : ' Friend, thy poverty be with thee in perdition ; get 
thee backward, Satan, for thou dost not savour of those things which have the 
savour of money. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Thou shalt not enter into the joy 
of thy lord, until thou shalt have given thy last farthing.' 

" Then the poor man went away, and sold his cloak and his gown, and all that 
he had, and gave it to the cardinals, and to the doorkeepers, and to the chamberlains. 
But they said, * And what is this among so many ?' And they cast him out of the 
gates, and going out he wept bitterly, and was without consolation. After him 
there came to the court a certain clerk who was rich, and gross, and fat, and 
large, and who in a tumult had committed manslaughter. He gave first to the 
doorkeeper, secondly to the chamberlain, third to the cardinals. But they judged 
among themselves, that they were to receive more. Then the lord the pope, hearing 
that the cardinals and officials had received many gifts from the clerk, became sick 
unto death. But the rich man sent him an electuary of gold and silver, and he was 
immediately made whole. Then the lord the pope called before him the cardinals 
and officials, and said to them : ' Brethren, see that no one deceive you with empty 
words. For I give you an example, that, as I take, so take ye also.' " 

This mediaeval love of parody was not unfrequently difplayed in a 


in Literature and Art. 173 

more popular form, and in the language of the people. In the Reliquce 
Antiques (i. 82) we have a very lingular parody in Englifh on the fermons 
of the Catholic priefthood, a good part of which is fo written as to prefent 
no confecutive fenfe, which circumftance itfelf implies a fneer at the 
preachers. Thus our burlefque preacher, in the middle of his difcourfe, 
proceeds to narrate as follows (I modernife the Englifh) : — 

" Sirs, what time that God and St. Peter came to Rome, Peter asked Adam a 
full great doubtful question, and said, " Adam, Adam, why ate thou the apple un- 
pared ?' * Forsooth, 1 quod he, ' for I had no wardens (pears) fried.' And Peter 
saw the fire, and dread him, and stepped into a plum-tree that hanged full of ripe 
red cherries. And there he saw all the parrots in the sea. There he saw steeds 
and stockfish pricking ' swose ' (?) in the water. There he saw hens and herrings that 
hunted after harts in hedges. There he saw eels roasting larks. There he saw 
haddocks were done on the pillory for wrong roasting of May butter 5 and there he 
saw how bakers baked butter to grease with old monks' boots. There he saw how 
the fox preached," &c. 

The fame volume contains fome rather clever parodies on the old 
Englifh alliterative romances, compofed in a fimilar flyle of confecutive 
nonfenfe. It is a clafs of parody which we trace to a rather early period, 
which the French term a coq-a-Vane, and which became fafhionable in 
England in the feventeenth century in the form of fongs entitled 
"Tom-a-Bedlams." M. Jubinal has printed two fuch poems in French, 
perhaps of the thirteenth century,* and others are found fcattered 
through the old manufcripts. There is generally fo much coarfenefs in 
them that it is not eafy to felect a portion for tranflation, and in fa£t their 
point confifts in going on through the length of a poem of this kind 
without imparting a fingle clear idea. Thus, in the fecond of thofe 
publifhed by Jubinal, we are told how, "The fhadow of an egg carried 
the new year upon the bottom of a pot ; two old new combs made a ball 
to run the trot 3 when it came to paying the fcot, I, who never move 


* " Achille Jubinal, Jongleurs et Trouveres." 8vo,, Paris, 1835, p. 34; and 
" Nouveau Recueil de Contes, Dits, Fabliaux," &c 8vo., Paris, 1842. Vol. ii. 
p. 208. In the first instance M. Jubinal has given to this little poem the title 
Repveries, in the second, Fatra/ies. 

174 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

myfelf, cried out, without faying a word, ' Take the feather of an ox, and 
clothe a wife fool with it.' " — 

Li ombres (Tun oef 

Portoit Van reneuf 

Sur la fon% <Tun pot ; 

Deus mie% pinges neuf 

Firent un ejiuef 

Pour courre le trot ; 

Quant -vint au paler Vejcot^ 

Je, qui onques ne me muef, 

1VP ejcriai, Ji ne dis mot : — 

* Prene's la plume d'un buef y 

S"en 'vejle% unfage Jot,'' — Jubinal, Nouv. Eec, ii. 217. 

The fpirit of the goliards continued to exift long after the name had 
been forgotten 5 and the mafs of bitter fatire which they had left behind 
them againft the whole papal fyftem, and againft the corruptions of the 
papal church of the middle ages, were a perfect godfend to the reformers 
of the fixteenth century, who could point to them triumphantly as 
irrefiftible evidence in their favour. Such fcholars as Flacius Illyricus, 
eagerly examined the manufcripts which contained this goliardic poetry, 
and printed it, chiefly as good and effective weapons in the great religious 
ftrife which was then convulfing European fociety. To us, befides their 
intereft as literary compofitions, they have alfo a hiftorical value, for they 
introduce us to a more intimate acquaintance with the character of the 
great mental flruggle for emancipation from mediaeval darknefs which 
extended efpecially through the thirteenth century, and which was only 
overcome for a while to begin more ftrongly and more fuccefsfully at a 
later period. They difplay to us the grofs ignorance, as well as the 
corruption of manners, of the great mafs of the mediaeval clergy. 
Nothing can be more amufing than the fatire which fome of thefe pieces 
throw on the character of monkifh Latin. I printed in the " Reliquae 
Antiquae," under the title of "The Abbot of Gloucefter's Feaft," a 
complaint fuppofed to iifue from the mouth of one of the common herd 
of the monks, againft the felfifhnefs of their fuperiors, in which all the 
rules of Latin grammar are entirely fet at defiance. The abbot and prior 
of Gloucefter, with their whole convent, are invited to a feaft, and on 


in Literature and Art. 175 

their arrival, <: the abbot," fays the complainant, "goes to fit at the top, 
and the prior next to him, but I flood always in the back place among 
the low people." 

Abbas ire fede furf-am, 
Et priori s juxta ipjum ; 
Ego femper Jlavi dorfum 

inter rafcalilia. 

The wine was ferved liberally to the prior and the abbot, but " nothing 
was give to us poor folks — everything was for the rich." 

Vinum venit fanguinatis 
Ad prioris et abbatis ; 
Nihil nobis paupertatis, 

fed ad dives omnia. 

When fome difTatisfa6lion was difplayed by the poor monks, which the 
great men treated with contempt, "faid the prior to the abbot, 'They have 
wine enough; will you give all our drink to the poor? What does their 
poverty regard us ? they have little, and that is enough, fince they came 
uninvited to our feaft.' " . 

Prior dixit ad abbatis, 
* Ipji habent vinum jatis ; 
Vultis dare paupertatis 

nojier pctus omnia ? 
Quid nos Jpeciat paupertatis ? 
Pofiquam venit non vocatis 

ad nofter convivial 

Thus through feveral pages this amufing poem goes on to defcribe the 
gluttony and drunkennefs of the abbot and prior, and the ill-treatment of 
their inferiors. This compofition belongs to the clofe of the thirteenth 
century. A fong very fimilar to it in character, but much fhorter, is 
found in a manufcript of the middle of the fifteenth century, and printed 
with the other contents of this manufcript in a little volume iffued by the 
Percy Society.* The writer complains that the abbot and prior drunk 


* " Songs and Carol?, now first printed from a Manuscript of the Fifteenth 
Century." Edited by Thomas Wright, Esq. 8vo., London, 1847, p. 2. 

176 H i ft or y of Caricature and Grot ef que 

good and high-flavoured wine, while nothing but inferior fluff was 
mually given to the convent] "But," he fays, "it is better to 
go drink good wine at the tavern, where the wines are of the beft 
quality, and money is the butler." 

Bonum vinum cum fapore 
Bibit abbas cum priore ,• 
Sed conventus de pejore 

jemper jolet b'ibere. 
Bonum vinum in taberna, 
Ubi -vina funt valarna (tor Falerna), 
Ubi nummus eji pincerna, 

Ibi prodeji bibere. 

Partly out of the earneit, though playful, fatire defcribed in this chapter, 
arofe political fatire, and at a later period political caricature. I have 
before remarked that the period we call the middle ages was not that of 
political or perfonal caricature, becaufe it wanted that means of circulating 

\ oft o 

Caricature upon the Jews at Norwich. 

quickly and largely which is neceflfary for it. Yet, no doubt, men who 
could draw, did, in the middle ages, fometimes amufe themfelves in 
lketching caricatures, which, in general, have perifhed, becaufe nobody 
cared to preferve them ; but the fact of the exiflence of fuch works is 


in Literature and Art. 


proved by a very curious example, which has been preferred, and which 
is copied in our cut No. 111. It is a caricature on the Jews of Norwich, 
which fome one of the clerks of the king's courts in the thirteenth century 
has drawn with a pen, on one of the official rolls of the Pell office, where 
it has been preferved. Norwich, as it is well known, was one of the 
principal feats of the Jews in England at this early period, and Iiaac of 
Norwich, the crowned Jew with three faces, who towers over the other 
figures, was no doubt fome perfonage of great importance among them. 
Dagon, as a two-headed demon, occupies a tower, which a party of demon 
knights is attacking. Beneath the figure of Ifaac there is a lady, whofe 
name appears to be Avezarden, who has fome relation or other with a 
male figure named Nolle-Mokke, in which another demon, named 
Colbif, is interfering. As this latter name is 
written in capital letters, we may perhaps con- 
clude that he is the molt important perfonage 
in the fcene ; but, without any knowledge of 
the circumflances to which it relates, it would 
be in vain to attempt to explain this curious 
and rather elaborate caricature. 

Similar attempts at caricature, though lefs 
direct, and elaborate, are found in others of our 
national records. One of thefe, pointed out to 
me by an excellent and refpected friend, 
the Rev. Lambert B. Larking, is peculiarly in- 
terefling, as well as amuflng. It belongs to the 
Treafury of the Exchequer, and confifts of two 
volumes of vellum called Liber A and Liber B, 
forming a regifter of treaties, marriages, and 
fimilar documents of the reign of Edward I., 
which have been very fully ufed by Rymer. 
The clerk who was employed in writing it, 
leems to have been, like many of thefe official 
clerks, fomewhat of a wag, and he has amufed himfelf by drawing 
in the margin figures of the inhabitants of the provinces of Edwaid*6 

a a crown 

An Irijhman, 

xyS Hi/lory of Caricature and Grot ej que 

crown to which the documents referred. Some of thefe are evidently 
defigned for caricature. Thus, the figure given in our cut No. 112 was 
intended to reprefent an Irifhman. One trait, at leaft, in this caricature 
is well known from the defcription given by Giraldus Cambrenfis, who 
fpeaks with a fort of horror of the formidable axes which the Iriih were 
accuftomed to carry about with them. In treating of the manner in 
which Ireland ought to be governed when it had been entirely reduced 
to fubje£tion, he recommends that, " in the meantime, they ought not 
to be allowed in time of peace, on any pretence or in any place, to ufe 
that deteftable inftrument of deflrucYion, which, by an ancient but accurfed 
cuftom, they conftantly carry in their hands inftead of a 
flaff." In a chapter of his "Topography of Ireland," 
Giraldus treats of this " ancient and wicked cuftom " 
of always carrying in their hand an axe, inftead of a 
ftaff, to the danger of all perfons who had any relations 
with them. Another Irifhman, from a drawing in the 
fame manufcript, given in our cut No. 113, carries his 
axe in the fame threatening attitude. The coftume of 
thefe figures anfwers with furficient accuracy to the de- 
fcription given by Giraldus Cambrenfis. The drawings 
exhibit more exactly than that writer's defcription the 
"fmall clofe-fitting hoods, hanging a cubit's length 
(half-a-yard) below the fhoulders," which, he tells us, 
they were accuftomed to wear. This fmall hood, with the flat cap 
attached to it, is fhown better perhaps in the fecond figure than in the 
firft. The " breeches and hofe of one piece, or hofe and breeches joined 
together," are alfo exhibited here very diftin&ly, and appear to be tied 
over the heel, but the feet are clearly naked, and evidently the ufe 
of the " brogues " was not yet general among the Irifh of the thirteenth 

If the Welfhman of this period was fomewhat more fcantily clothed 
than the Irifhman, he had the advantage of him, to judge by this 
manufcript, in wearing at leaft one (hoe. Our cut No. 114, taken from 
\t, reprefents a Welfhman armed with bow and arrow, whofe clothing 


t7o. 113 Another 

in Literature and Art. 


confifts apparently only of a plain tunic and a light mantle. This is 
quite in accordance with the defcription by Giraldus Cambrenfis, who 
tells us that in all feafons their drefs was the fame, and that, however 
fevere the weather, " they defended themfelves from the cold only by a 
thin cloak and tunic." Giraldus fays nothing of the practice of the 
Welfh in wearing but one fhoe, yet it is evident that at the time of this 
record that was their practice, for in another figure of a Welfhman, given 

A Weljh Archer. 

No. 115. A Welfoman -with his Spear. 

in our cut No. T15, we fee the fame peculiarity, and in both cafes the fhoe 
is worn on the left foot. Giraldus merely fays that the Welmmen in 
general, when engaged in warfare, " either walked bare-footed, or made 
ufe of high fhoes, roughly made of untanned leather." He defcribes 
them as armed fometimes with bows and arrows, and fometimes with 
long fpears ; and accordingly our firft example of a Welfhman from this 
manufcript is uflng the bow, while the fecond carries the fpear, which 
he apparently refts on the tingle fhoe of his left foot, while he brandifhes 
a fword in his left hand. Both our Welfhmen prefent a Angularly 
grotefque appearance. 


180 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

The Gafcon is reprefented with more peaceful attributes. Gafcony 
was the country of vineyards, from whence we drew our great fupply of 
wines, a very important article of confumption in the middle ages. 

When the official clerk who wrote this 
manufcript came to documents relating to 
Gafcony, his thoughts wandered naturally 
enough to its rich vineyards and the wine 
they fupplied fo plentifully, and to which, 
according to old reports, clerks feldom 
ihowed any diflike, and accordingly, in 
the fketch, which we copy in our cut 
No. 1 1 6, we have a Gafcon occupied 
diligently in pruning his vine-tree. He, 
at leaft, wears two fhoes, though his 
clothing is of the lighteft defcription. 
He is perhaps the vinitor of the mediaeval 
documents on this fubje6t, a ferf attached 
to the vineyard. Our fecond fketch, cut No. 117, prefents a more 
enlarged fcene, and introduces us to the whole procefs of making wine. 
Firfi we fee a man better clothed, with fhoes (or boots) of much fuperior 

No. 116. A Gafcon at his Vine. 

Wine Manufacturer. 

make, and a hat on his head, carrying away the grapes from the vineyard 
to the place where another man, with no clothing at all, is treading out 
the juice in a large vat. This is ftill in fome of the wine countries 


in Literature and Art, 1 8 1 

the common method of extracting the juice from the grape. Further to 
the left is the large calk in which the juice is put when turned into wine. 
Satires on the people of particular localities were not uncommon 
during the middle ages, becaufe local rivalries and confequent local feuds 
prevailed everywhere. The records of fuch feuds were naturally of a 
temporary character, and perifhed when the feuds and rivalries themfelves 
ceafed to exift, but a few curious fatires of this kind have been preferved. 
A monk of Peterborough, who lived late in the twelfth or early in the 
thirteenth century, and for fome reafon or other nourilhed an unfriendly 
feeling to the people of Norfolk, gave vent to his hoftility in a ihort 
Latin poem in what we may call goliardic verfe. He begins by abufing 
the county itfelf, which, he fays, was as bad and unfruitful as its 
inhabitants were vile ; and he fuggefts that the evil one, when he fled 
from the anger of the Almighty, had paffed through it and left his 
pollution upon it. Among other anecdotes of the fimplicity and folly of 
the people of this county, which clofely refemble the ftories of the wife 
men of Gotham of a later date, he informs us that one day the peafantry 
of one diftrict were fo grieved by the oppreflions of their feudal lord, that 
they fubfcribed together and bought their freedom, which he fecured to 
them by formal deed, ratified with a ponderous feal. They adjourned to 
the tavern, and celebrated their deliverance by feafting and drinking 
until night came on, and then, for want of a candle, they agreed to burn 
the wax of the feal. Next day their former lord, informed of what had 
taken place, brought them before a court, where the deed was judged to 
be void for want of the feal, and they loft all their money, were reduced 
to their old pofition of flavery, and treated worfe than ever. Other 
ftories, ftill more ridiculous, are told of thefe old Norfolkians, but few of 
them are worth repeating. Another monk, apparently, who calls himfelf 
John de St. Omer, took up the cudgels for the people of Norfolk, and re- 
plied to the Peterborough fatirift in fimilar language.* I have printed in 


* Both these poems are printed in my " Early Mysteries, and other Latin Poems 
of the Twelfth an! Thirteenth Centuries/'' 8vo., London, 1838. 

1 82 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

another collection,* a fatirical poem againft the people of a place called 
Stockton (perhaps Stockton-on-Tees in Durham), by the monk of a 
monaftic houfe, of which they were ferfs. It appeared that they had 
rifen againft the tyranny of their lord, but had been unfuccefsful in 
defending their caufe in a court of law, and the ecclefiaftical fatirift 
exults over their defeat in a very uncharitable tone. There will be found 
in the " Reliquae Antiquse/'f a very curious fatire in Latin profe directed 
againft the inhabitants of Rochefter, although it is in truth aimed againft 
Englifhmen in general, and is entitled in the manufcript, which is of the 
fourteenth century, " Proprietates Anglicorum " (the Peculiarities of 
Englifhmen). In the firft place, we are told, that the people of Rochefter 
had tails, and the queftion is difcufled, very fcholaftically, what fpecies 
of animals thefe Roceftrians were. We are then told that the caufe of 
their deformity arofe from the infolent manner in which they treated 
St. Augulline, when he came to preach the Gofpel to the heathen Englifh. 
After viliting many parts of England, the faint came to Rochefter, where 
the people, inftead of liftening to him, hooted at him through the ftreets, 
and, in derifion, attached tails of pigs and calves to his veftments, and 
fo turned him out of the city. The vengeance of Heaven came upon 
them, and all who inhabited the city and the country round it, and their 
defcendants after them, were condemned to bear tails exactly like 
thofe of pigs. This ftory of the tails was not an invention of the author 
of the fatire, but was a popular legend connected with the hiftory of 
St. Augufline's preaching, though the fcene of the legend was laid in 
Dorfetfhire. The writer of this lingular compofltion goes on to defcribe 
the people of Rochefter as feducers of other people, as men without 
gratitude, and as traitors. He proceeds to fhow that Rochefter being 
fituated in England, its vices had tainted the whole nation, and he 
illuftrates the bafenefs of the Englifh character by a number of anecdotes 
of worfe than doubtful authenticity. It is, in fact, a fatire on the Englifh 
compofed in France, and leads us into the domains of political fatire. 


* " Anecdota Literaria," p. 49. t " Reliquae Antiquae," vol. ii. p. 230. 

Political fatire in the middle ages appeared chiefly in the form of 
poetry and fong, and it was efpeciallv in England that it flourifhed, a fore 
fign that there was in our country a more advanced feeling of popular 
independence, and greater freedom of fpeech, than in France or 
Germany.* M. Leroux de Lincy, who undertook to make a collection of 
this poetry for France, found fo little during the mediaeval period that 
came under the character of political, that he was obliged to fubftitute 
the word " hiftorical " in the title of his book.f Where feudalifm was 
fupreme, indeed, the fongs which arofe out of private or public ftrife, 
which then were almoft infeparable from fociety, contained no political 
fentiment, but confided chiefly of perfonal attacks on the opponents of 
thofe who employed them. Such are the four lhort fongs written in the 
time of the revolt of the French during the minority of St. Louis, which 
commenced in 1226; they are all of a political character whicn 
M. Leroux de Lincy has been able to collect previous to the year 
1270, and they confift merely of perfonal taunts againft the courtiers by 
the diiTatisfied barons who were out of power. We trace a fimilar feeling 
in fome of the popular records of our baronial wars of the reign of 
Henry III., efpecially in a fong, in the baronial language (Anglo-Norman), 
preferved in a fmall roll of vellum, which appears to have belonged 
to the minftrel who chanted it in the halls of the partifans of Simon de 
Montfort. The fragment which remains confifts of ftanzas in praife of 
the leaders of the popular party, and in reproach of their opponents. 
Thus of Roger de Clifford, one of earl Simon's friends, we are told that 
" the good Roger de Clifford behaved like a noble baron, and exercifed 


* I have published from the original manuscripts the mass of the political poetry 
composed in England during the middle ages in my three volumes — "The Political 
Songs of England, from the Reign of John to that of Edward 11." 4to., London, 
1839 (issued by the Camden Society) 5 and " Political Poems and Songs relating to 
English History, composed during the Period from the Accession of Edward III. 
to that of Richard III." 8vo., vol i-, London, 1859; vol. ii., 1861 (published by 
the Treasury, under the direction of the Master of the Rolls.) 

f " Receuil de Chants Historiques Francois depuis le xii e . jusqu'au xviii e . 
Siecle, par Leroux de Lincy .... Premiere Serie, xii e ., xiii e ., xiv e ., et xv% Siecles." 
8vo., Paris, 1841. 

184 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefauc 

great juftice ; he fuffered none, either fmall or great, or fecretly or 
openly, to do any wrong." 

Et de Cliffort ly bon Roger 
Se contint cum noble ber, 

Sifu de grant juftice ; 
Nefuffri jpas petit ne grant y 
Ne arere ne par devant, 

Fere nul mefprife. 

On the other hand, one of Montfort's opponents, the bifhop of Hereford, 
is treated rather contemptuoufly. We are told that he " learnt well that 
the earl was ftrong when he took the matter in hand j before that he 
(the bifhop) was very fierce, and thought to eat up all the Englifh; but 
now he is reduced to ftraits." 

Ly eve fie de Herefort 

Sout bien que ly quern fu fort y 

Kant tl prill Paffere ; 
Dcvatit ce efteit mult fer, 
Les Englais quida totix manger, 

Mh ore ne Jet que fere. 

This bifhop was Peter de Aigueblanche, one of the foreign favourites, who 
had been intruded into the fee of Hereford, to the exclufion of a better 
man, and had been an oppreffor of thofe who were under his rule. The 
barons feized him, threw him into prifon, and plundered his poffeffions, 
and at the time this fong was written, he was fufFering under the imprifon- 
ment which appears to have fhortened his life. 

The univerfities and the clerical body in general were deeply involved 
in thefe political movements of the thirteenth century ; and our earlieft 
political fongs now known are compofed in Latin, and in that form and 
ftyle of verfe which feems to have been peculiar to the goliards, and 
which I venture to call goliardic. Such is a fong againft the three bifhops 
who fupported king John in his quarrel with the pope about the prefen- 
tation to the fee of Canterbury, printed in my Political Songs. Such, too, 
is the fong of the Welfh, and one or two others, in the fame volume. 
And fuch, above all, is that remarkable Latin poem in which a partifan 


of the barons, immediately after the victory at Lewes, fet forth the 
political tenets of his party, and gave the principles of Englifh liberty 
nearly the fame broad bafts on which they Hand at the prefent. It is an 
evidence of the extent to which thefe principles were now acknowledged, 
that in this great baronial ftruggle our political fongs began to be written 
in the Englifh language, an acknowledgment that they concerned the 
whole Englifh public. 

We trace little of this clafs of literature during the reign of Edward I.; 
but, when the popular feelings became turbulent again under the reign of 
his fon and fucceffor, political fongs became more abundant, and their fatire 
was directed more even than formerly againft meafures and principles, 
and was lefs an inftrument of mere perfonal abufe. One fatirical poem 
of this period, which I had printed from an imperfect copy in a manu- 
fcript at Edinburgh, but of which a more complete copy was fubfequently 
found in a manufcript in the library of St. Peter's College, Cambridge,* 
is extremely curious as being the earlieft fatire of this kind written in 
Englifh that we poiTefs. It appears to have been written in the year 
1320. The writer of this poem begins by telling us that his object is to 
explain the caufe of the war, ruin, and manilaughter which then prevailed 
throughout the land, and why the poor were furfering from hunger and 
want, the cattle perifhed in the field, and the corn was dear. Thefe he 
afcribes to the increaftng wickednefs of all orders of fociety. To begin 
with the church, Rome was the head of all corruptions, at the papal 
court falfehood and treachery only reigned, and the door of the pope's 
palace was fhut againft truth. During the twelfth and following centuries 
thefe complaints, in terms more or lefs forcible, againft the corruptions of 
Rome, are continually repeated, and mow that the evil muft have been 
one under which everybody felt opprelfed. The old charge of Romifh 
fimony is repeated in this poem in very flrong terms. " The clerk's voice 
mall be little heard at the court of Rome, were he ever fo good, unlets 

* " A Poem on the Times of Edward III., from a MS. preserved in the Library 
of St. Peter's College, Cambridge.'" Edited by the Rev. C. Hard wick. 8vo. 
London, 1849. (One of the publications of the Percy Society.) 

B B 

1 86 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

he bring filver with him ; though he were the holieft man that ever was 
born, unlefs he bring gold or filver, all his time and anxiety are loft. 
Alas ! why love they fo much that which is perHhable ? " 

Voys of clerk Jhall lytyl be heard at the court of Rome, 
Were he never Jo gode a clerk, without fiver and he come ; 
Though he ivere the holyfi man that ever yet ivas ibore, 
But he bryng gold or Jylver, al hys while is for lore 

And his thoivght. 
Alias ! ivhi love thei that fo much that fchal turne to nowght ? 

When, on the contrary, a wicked man prefented himfelf at the pope's 
court, he had only to carry plenty of money thither, and all went well 
with him. According to our fatirift, the bifhops were "fools," and the 
other dignitaries and officials of the church were influenced chiefly by the 
love of money and felf-indulgence. The parfon began humbly, when he 
firfl obtained his benefice, but no fooner had he gathered money together, 
than he took " a wenche " to live with him as his wife, and rode a 
hunting with hawks and hounds like a gentleman. The priefts were 
men with no learning, who preached by rote what they neither under- 
flood nor appreciated. "Truely," he fays, "it fares by our unlearned 
priefts as by a jay in a cage, who curfes himfelf: he fpeaks good Englifh, 
but he knows not what it means. No more does an unlearned priefl 
know his gofpel that he reads daily. An unlearned prieft, then, is no 
better than a jay." 

Certes aifo hyt fareth by a prefl that is lewed, 
As by a jay in a cage that hymfelf hath bejhreived : 
Gode Engly/b he fpeketh, but he not never what. 
iVo more wot a lewed prefl hys gofpel ivat he rat 

By day. 
Than is a lewed prefl no better than a jay. 

Abbots and priors were remarkable chiefly for their pride and luxury, and 
the monks naturally followed their examples. Thus was religion debafed 
everywhere. The character of the phyfician is treated with equal feverity, 
and his various tricks to obtain money are amufingly defcribed. In this 
manner the fongfter prefents to view the failings of the various orders of 
lay fociety alfo, the felfifhnefs and oppreflive bearing of the knights and 


in Literature and Art, 187 

ariftocracy, and their extravagance in drefs and living, the neglect of 
juftice, the ill-management of the wars, the weight of taxation, and all 
the other evils which then afflicted the Hate. This poem marks a period 
in our focial hiftory, and led the way to that larger work of the fame 
character, which came about thirty years later, the well-known " Vifions 
of Piers Ploughman,"* one of the moft remarkable fatires, as well as one 
of the moft remarkable poems, in the Englifh language. 

We will do no more than glance at the further progrefs of political 
fatire which had now taken a permanent footing in Englifh literature. 
We fee lefs of it during the reign of Edward III., the greater part of 
which was occupied with foreign wars and triumphs, but there appeared 
towards the clofe of his reign, a very remarkable fatire, which I have 
printed in my "Political Poems and Songs." It is written in Latin, and 
confirts of a pretended prophecy in verfe by an infpired monk named 
John of Bridlington, with a mock commentary in profe — in fa ft, a parody 
on the commentaries in which the fcholaftics of that age difplayed their 
learning, but in this cafe the commentary contains a bold though to us 
rather obfcure criticifm on the whole policy of Edward's reign. The reign 
of Richard II. was convulfed by the great ftruggle for religious reform, 
by the infurreftions of the lower orders, and by the ambition and feuds of 
the nobles, and produced a vaft quantity of political and religious fatire, 
both in profe and verfe, but efpecially the latter. We muft not overlook 
our great poet Chaucer, as one of the powerful fatirifts of this period. 
Political fong next makes itfelf heard loudly in the wars of the Rofes. 
It was the laft ftruggle of feudalifm in England, and the character of the 
fong had fallen back to its earlier characterises, in which all patriotic 
feelings were abandoned to make place for perfonal hatred. 

* "The Vision and the Creed of Piers Ploughman ;" with Notes and a Glossary 
by Thomas Wright. 2 vols. nmo. London, 1842. Second and revised edition, 
2 vols. i2mo. London, 1856. 

1 88 Hijlory of Caricature and Grot ej que 







ONE of the principal claffes of the fatirifts of the middle ages, the 
minftrels, or jougleurs, were far from being unamenable to fatire 
themfelves. They belonged generally to a low clafs of the population, 
one that was hardly acknowledged by the law, which merely adminiflered 
to the pleafures and amufements of others, and, though fometimes 
liberally rewarded, they were objects rather of contempt than of refpect. 
Of courfe there were minftrels belonging to a clafs more refpe6table than 
the others, but thefe were comparatively few ; and the ordinary minftrel 
feems to have been limply an unprincipled vagabond, who hardly 
ponefTed any fettled refting-place, who wandered about from place to 
place, and was not too nice as to the means by which he gained his 
living — perhaps fairly reprefented by the ftreet minftrel, or mountebank, 
of the prefent day. One of his talents was that of mocking and ridiculing 
others, and it is not to be wondered at, therefore, if he fometimes became 
an object of mockery and ridicule himfelf. One of the well-known 
minftrels of the thirteenth century, Rutebeuf, was, like many of his 
fellows, a poet alfo, and he has left feveral fhort pieces of verfe defcriptive 
of himfelf and of his own mode of life. In one of thefe he complains of 
his poverty, and tells us that the world had in his time — the reign of 
St. Louis — become fo degenerate, that few people gave anything to the 
unfortunate minftrel. According to his own account, he was without 


in Literature and Art, 189 

food, and in a fair way towards ftarvation, expofed to the cold without 
fufficient clothing, and with nothing but ftraw for his bed. 

Je touz defrcit, de fain baaille, 

Dont je fuis mors et maubailliz, 

Je fuis fanx coutes et fans liz ; 

N^a f po-vre jufqu a Senliz. 

Sire, fi ne fai quel part aille ; 

Mes cofeiz connoit le pailliss, 

Et liz de paille tfefl pas liz } 

Et en mon lit n"afors la paille. — (Euvres de Eutebeuf, vol. i. p. 3. 

In another poem, Rutebeuf laments that he has rendered his condition 
ftill more miferable by marrying, when he had not wherewith to keep a 
wife and family. In a third, he complains that in the midft of his 
poverty, his wife has brought him a child to increafe his domeilic 
expenfes, while his horfe, on which he was accuftomed to travel to places 
where he might exercife his profeffion, had broken its leg, and his nurfe 
was dunning him for money. In addition to all thefe caufes of grief, he 
had loll the ufe of one of his eyes. 

Or a d' 'enfant geu ma fame ; 
Mon che-val a brife la jame 

A une lice ; 
Or veut de V argent ma norrice, 
Qui m'en dejiraint et me pe'lice. 

For r enfant pejire. 

Throughout his complaint, although he laments over the decline of 
liberality among his contemporaries, he neverthelefs turns his poverty into 
a joke. In feveral other pieces of verfe he fpeaks in the fame way, half 
joking and half lamenting over his condition, and he does not conceal that 
the love of gambling was one of the caufes of it. "The dice," he fays, 
" have flripped me entirely of my robe ; the dice watch and fpy me ; it 
is thefe which kill me ; they affault and ruin me, to my grief." 

Li de que li detier ontfet, 
UTont de ma robe tout desfet ,• 

Li de m'ocient. 
Li de rnaguetent et efpient ; 
Li de m 'ajfaillent et deffient, 

Ce poife tnoi. — lb., vol. i. p. 27. 


190 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

And elfewhere he intimates that what the minftrels fometimes gained 
from the lavifh generofity of their hearers, foon pafled away at the tavern 
in dice and drinking. 

One of Rutebeuf s contemporaries in the fame profeflion, Colin Mufet, 
indulges in firnilar complaints, and fpeaks bitterly of the want of generofity 
difplayed by the great barons of his time. In addreffing one of them 
who had treated him ungenerously, he fays, " Sir Count, I have fiddled 
before you in your hoftel, and you neither gave me a gift, nor paid 
me my wages. It is difcreditable behaviour. By the duty I owe to 
St. Mary, I cannot continue in your fervice at this rate. My purfe is ill 
furnifhed, and my wallet is empty." 

Sire quens^ j'ai viele 
Devant 'vos en <vojire oflel ; 
Si »e tncrvez riens donne\ 
Ne mes gages acquitez y 

Ceft vilanie. 
Foi que doi fainte Marie, 
Enji ne vos feurre-je mie. 
M'aumofniere eji tftal garnie, 
Et ma malt mal farjie. 

He proceeds to ftate that when he went home to his wife (for Colin 
Mufet alfo was a married minflrel), he was ill received if his purfe 
and wallet were empty 5 but it was very different when they were full. His 
wife then fprang forward and threw her arms round his neck ; ihe took 
his wallet from his horfe with alacrity, while his lad conducted the 
animal cheerfully to the liable, and his maiden killed a couple of capons, 
and prepared them with piquant fauce. His daughter brought a comb for 
his hair. "Then," he exclaims, "I am matter in my own houfe." 

Ma fame va dejlrofer 
Ma male Jam demorer ; 
Mon gartpn va abwvrer 
Mon chcual et conreer } 
Ma pucele va tuer 
Deux chaponi por deporter 

A la jauje aillie. 
Ma file m'aporte un pigne 
En fa main par eortoife. 
Lorsfui de mon oft el f re. 


in Literature and Art. 1 9 1 

When the minftrels could thus joke upon themfelves, we need not be 
furprifed if they fatirifed one another. In a poem of the thirteenth 
century, entitled "Les deux Troveors Ribauz," two minftrels are introduced 
on the ftage abufing and infulting one another, and while indulging in 
mutual accufations of ignorance in their art, they difplay their ignorance 
at the fame time by mifquoting the titles of the poems which they profefs 
to be able to recite. One of them boafts of the variety of inftruments on 
which he could perform : — 

Je Juts jugleres de v'tele. 
Si fai de mufe et de frejiele, 
Et de karpes et de chifonie, 
De la gigue, de Varmonie^ 
De Vfalteire^ et en la rote 
Sai-ge bien chanter une note. 

It appears, however, that among all thefe inftruments, the viol, or fiddle, 
was the one moft generally in ufe. 

The mediaeval monuments of art abound with burlefques and fatires 
on the minftrels, whofe inftruments of mufic are 
placed in the hands fometimes of monfters, and at 
others in thofe of animals of a not very refined cha- 
racter. Our cut No. 118 is taken from a manufcript 
in the Britifh Mufeum (MS. Cotton, Domitian A. ii.), 
and reprefents a female minftrel playing on the 
fiddle ; ihe has the upper part of a lady, and the 
lower parts of a mare, a combination which appears 
to have been rather familiar to the imagination of the 
mediaeval artifts. In our cut No. 119, which is taken 
from a copy made by Carter of one of the mifereres 
in Ely Cathedral, it is not quite clear whether the No ' ll% r . d f le ^ ha 
performer on the fiddle be a monfler or merely a 
cripple ; but perhaps the latter was intended. The inftrument, too, 
affumes a rather lingular form. Our cut No 1 20, alfo taken from Carter, 
was furnifhed by a fculpture in the church of St. John, at Cirencelter, 
and reprefents a man performing on an inftrument rather clofely 
refembling the modern hurdy-gurdy, which is evidently played by 


1 92 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

turning a handle, and the mufic is produced by linking wires or firings 

No. 1 1 9. A Crippled Minjlrel. 

in fide. The face is evidently intended to be that of a jovial companion. 

No. 120. The Hurdy-Gurdy. 

Gluttony was an efpecial characteriftic of that clafs of fociety to which 


in Literature and Art. 193 

the minftrcl belonged, and perhaps this was the idea intended to be con- 

No. I2i. A Stvini/h Minftrel. 
veyed in the next picture, No. 121, taken from one of the flails in Win- 



A Mufical Mother. 

chefter Cathedral, 



a pig 

is performing on 
c c 

the fiddle, 




] 94 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefq 


to be accompanied by a juvenile of the fame fpecies of animal. One of 
the fame flails, copied in our cut No. 122, reprefents a fow performing 
on another fort of mufical inftrument, which is not at all uncommon in 
mediaeval delineations. It is the double pipe or flute, which was evidently 
borrowed from the ancients. Minftrelfy was the ufual accompaniment 
of the mediaeval meal, and perhaps this picture is intended to be a 
burlefque on that circumftance, as the mother is playing to her brood 
while they are feeding. They all feem to liften quietly, except one, who 
is evidently much more affected by the mufic than his companions. The 
fame inftrument is placed in the hands of a rather jolly-looking female in 

The Double Flute. 

one of the fculptures of St. John's Church in Cirencefler, copied in our 
cut No. 123. 

Although this inftrument is rather frequently reprefented in mediaeval 
works of art, we have no account of or allufion to it in mediaeval writers 5 
and perhaps it was not held in very high eftimation, and was ufed only 
by a low clafs of performers. As in many other things, the employment 
jf particular mufical inftruments was guided, no doubt, by fafhion, new 
ones coming in as old ones went out. Such was the cafe with the 


in Literature and Art. 195 

inftrument which is named in one of the above extracts, and in fome 
other mediaeval writers, a chiffonie, and which has been fuppofed to be 
the dulcimer, that had fallen into difcredit in the fourteenth century. 
This inftrument is introduced in a ftory which is found in Cuvelier's 
metrical hiflory of the celebrated warrior Bertrand du Guefclin. In the 
courfe of the war for the expulfion of Pedro the Cruel from the throne of 
Caftile, an Englifh knight, Sir Matthew Gournay, was fent as a fpecial 
ambaffador to the court of Portugal. The Portuguefe monarch had in his 
fervice two minftrels whofe performances he vaunted greatly, and on 
whom he fet great ftore, and he infilled on their performing in the 
prefence of the new ambaffador. It turned out that they played on the 
inftrument juft mentioned, and Sir Matthew Gournay could not refrain 
from laughing at the performance. When the king preffed him to give 
his opinion, he faid, with more regard for truth than politenefs, " In 
France and Normandy, the inftruments your minftrels play upon are 
regarded with contempt, and are only in ufe among beggars and blind 
people, fo that they are popularly called beggar's inftruments." The king, 
we are told, took great offence at the bluntnefs of his Englilh gueft. 

The fiddle itfelf appears at this time to have been gradually finking in 
credit, and the poets complained that a degraded tafte for more vulgar 
mufical inftruments was introducing itfelf. Among thefe we may mention 
efpecially the pipe and tabor. The French antiquary, M. Jubinal, in a 
very valuable collection of early popular poetry, publifhed under the title 
of " Jongleurs et Trouveres," has printed a curious poem of the thirteenth 
or fourteenth century, intended as a proteft againft the ufe of the tabor 
and the bagpipes, which he chara&erifes as properly the mufical inftru- 
ments of the peafantry. Yet people then, he fays, were becoming fo 
befotted on fuch inftruments, that they introduced them in places where 
better minftrelfy would be more fuitable. The writer thinks that the 
introduction of fo vulgar an inftrument as the tabor into grand feftivals 
could be looked upon in no other light than as one of the figns which 
might be expected to be the precurfors of the coming of Antichrift. " If 
fuch people are to come to grand feftivals as carry a buihel [i.e. a tabor 
made in the form of a buihel meafure, on the end of which they beat], 


196 Hifiory of Caricature and Grotefq 


and make fuch a terrible noife, it would feem that Antichrifl muft now be 
being born ; people ought to break the head of each of them with a ftafT." 

Deujfent itlels genz venir a bele fejie 
Qui portent un boijfel, qui mainent tel tempefte, 
II famble que Antecrift doie maintenant neftre ,• 
JJ'en duroit d*un bajion chajcun brifier la tejie. 

This fatirift adds, as a proof of the contempt in which the Virgin Mary 
held fuch inllruments, that the never loved a tabor, or confented to hear 
one, and that no tabor was introduced among the minftrelfy at her 

No. 124. The Tabor, or Drum, 

efpoufals. "The gentle mother of God," he fays, "loved the found of 
the fiddle," and he goes on to prove her partiality for that inflrument by 
citing fome of her miracles. 

Onques le mere Dieu, qui eji -virge honoree, 
Et eft a'voec lei angles hautement coronee, 
N'ama onques tabcur, ne point ne li agree, 
N^onques tabour ni ot quant el fu ejpoujee. 
La douce mere Dieu ama Jon de •viele. 



Literature and Art. 


The artift who carved the curious ftalls in Henry VII. 's Chapel at 
Weftminfter, feems to have entered fully into the fpirit difplayed by this 
fa ti rift, for in one of them, reprefented in our cut No. 124, he has 
introduced a mafked demon playing on the tabor, with an expreflion 
apparently of derifion. This tabor prefents much the form of a bufhel 
meafure, or rather, perhaps, of a modern drum. It may be remarked 
that the drum is, in fact, the fame inftrument as the tabor, or, at leaft, is 
derived from it, and they were called by the fame names, tabor or 
tambour. The Englifh name drum, which has equivalents in the later 
forms of the Teutonic dialects, perhaps means limply fomething which 
makes a noife, and is not, as far as I know, met with before the iixteenth 
century. Another carving of the fame feries of ftalls at Weftminfter, 
copied in our cut No. 125, reprefents a tame bear playing on the 

No. 125. Bruin turned Pip 

bagpipes. This is perhaps intended to be at the fame time a fatire on 
the inftrument itfelf, and upon the ftrange exhibitions of animals 
domefticated and taught various fingular performances, which were then 
fo popular. 


198 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

In our cut No. 126 we come to the fiddle again, which long fuftained 
its place in the higheft rank of mufical inftruments. It is taken from one 
of the fculptures on the porch of the principal entrance to the Cathedral 
of Lyons in France, and reprefents a mermaid with her child, liftening to 
the mufic of the fiddle. She wears a crown, and is intended, no doubt, 

Royal Minftrelfy. 

to be one of the queens of the fea, and the introduction of the fiddle 
under fuch circumftances can leave no doubt how highly it was efteemed. 
The mermaid is a creature of the imagination, which appears to have 
been at all times a favourite object of poetry and legend. It holds an 
important place in the mediaeval beftiaries, or popular treatifes on natural 
hiftory, and it has only been expelled from the domains of fcience at a 
comparatively recent date. It flill retains its place in popular legends of 
our fea-coafts, and more efpecially in the remoter parts of our iilands. 
The ftories of the merrow, or Irrfh fairy, hold a prominent place among 
my late friend Crofton Croker's " Fairy Legends of the South of 
Ireland." The mermaid is alfo introduced not unfrequently in mediaeval 


in Literature and Art. 


fculpture and carving. Our cut No. 127, reprefenting a mermaid and a 
merman, is copied from one of the flails of Winchefler Cathedral. The 
ufual attributes of the mermaid are a looking-glafs and comb, by the aid 
of which fhe is drefling her hair ; but here fhe holds the comb alone. 

No. 127. Mermaids. 

Her companion, the male, holds a fifh, which he appears to have jufl 
caught, in his hand. 

While, after the fifteenth century the profeffion of the minflrel 
became entirely degraded, and he was looked upon more than ever as a 
rogue and vagabond, the fiddle accompanied him, and it long remained, 
as it ftill remains in Ireland, the favourite inflrument of the peafantry. 
The blind fiddler, even at the prefent day, is not unknown in our rural 
diftri&s. It has always been in England the favourite inflrument of 

200 Hi ft or y of Caricature and Grot ef que 







FROM the employment of minftrels attached to the family, probably 
arofe another and well-known character of later times, the court 
fool, who took the place of fatirifl in the great houfeholds. I do not 
confider what we underftand by the court fool to be a character of any 
great antiquity. 

It is fomewhat doubtful whether what we call a jeft, was really 
appreciated in the middle ages. Puns feem to have been conndered as 
elegant figures of fpeech in literary compofition, and we rarely meet 
with anything like a quick and clever repartee. In the earlier ages, when 
a party of warriors would be merry, their mirth appears to have confined 
ufually in ridiculous boafls, or in rude remarks, or in fneers at enemies or 
opponents. Thefe jefts were termed by the French and Normans gabs 
(gabce, in mediaeval Latin), a word fuppofed to have been derived from 
the claffical Latin word cavilla, a mock or taunt ; and a fhort poem in 
Anglo-Norman has been preferved which furnifhes a curious illustration 
of the meaning attached to it in the twelfth century. This poem relates 
how Charlemagne, piqued by the taunts of his emprefs on the fuperiority 
of Hugh the Great, emperor of Constantinople, went to Constantinople, 
accompanied by his douze pairs and a thoufand knights, to verify the truth 
of his wife's flory. They proceeded firft to Jerufalem, where, when Charle- 
magne and his twelve peers entered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, 
they looked fo handfome and majeftic, that they were taken at firft for 


in Literature and Art. 201 

Chrift and his twelve apoftles, but the myftery was foon cleared up, and 
they were treated by the patriarch with great hofpitahty during fou- 
months. They then continued their progrefs till they reached Conftanti- 
nople, where they were equally well received by the the emperor Hugo. 
At night the emperor placed his guefts in a chamber furnilhed with 
thirteen fplendid beds, one in the middle of the room, and the other 
twelve distributed around it, and illuminated by a large carbuncle, which 
gave a light as bright as that of day. When Hugh left them in their 
quarters for the night, he fent them wine and whatever was neceflary to 
make them comfortable ; and, when alone, they proceeded to amufe 
themfelves with gals, or jokes, each being expected to fay his joke in his 
turn. Charlemagne took the lead, and boafted that if the emperor Hugh 
would place before him his ftrongeft "bachelor," in mil armour, and 
mounted on his good fteed, he would, with one blow of his fword, cut 
him through from the head downwards, and through the faddle and 
horfe, and that the fword mould, after all this, fink into the ground to 
the handle. Charlemagne then called upon Roland for his gal, who 
boafted that his breath was fo Strong, that if the emperor Hugh would 
lend him his horn, he would take it out into the fields and blow it with 
fuch force, that the wind and no.fe of it would lhake down the whole 
city of Constantinople. Oliver, whofe turn came next, boafted of exploits 
of another defcription if he were left alone with the beautiful princefs, 
Hugh's daughter. The reft of the peers indulged in fimilar boaits, and 
when the gabs had gone round, they went to Sleep. Now the emperor 
of Constantinople had very cunningly, and rather treacherouily, made a 
hole through the wall, by which all that palTed infide could be feen and 
heard, and he had placed a fpy on the outfide, who gave a full account 
of the converfation of the diltinguithed guefts to his imperial mailer. 
Next morning Hugh called his guefts before him, told them what he had 
heard by his fpy, and declared that each of them mould perform his boaSt, 
or, if he failed, be put to death. Charlemagne expostulated, and repre- 
fented that it was the cuftom in France when people retired for the night 
to amufe themfelves in that manner. " Such is the cuftom in France," 
he laid, " at Paris, and at Chartres, when the French are in bed they 

d d amufe 

202 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

amuie themfelves and make jokes, and fay things both of wifdom and 

of folly." 

Si eft tel cuftume en France, a Paris e d Cartres, 
£>uand Franceh funt culchiez, que fe giuunt e gabent, 
EJi dient ambure e fa-ver efolage. 

But Charlemagne expoftulated in vain, and they were only fared from 
the confequence of their imprudence by the intervention of fo many 
miracles from above.* 

In luch trials of ikill as this, an individual muft continually have arifen 
who excelled in fome at leaft of the qualities needful for railing mirth and 
making him a good companion, by mowing himfelf more brilliant in wit, 
or more biting in farcafms, or more impudent in his jokes, and he would thus 
become the favourite mirth-maker of the court, the boon companion of 
the chieftain and his followers in their hours of relaxation. We find fuch 
an individual not unufually introduced in the early romances and in the 
mythology of nations, and he fometimes unites the character of court 
orator with the other. Such a perfonage was the Sir Kay of the cycle of 
the romances of king Arthur. I have remarked in a former chapter that 
Hunferth, in the Anglo-Saxon poem of Beowulf, is defcribed as holding 
a fomewhat limilar polition at the court of king Hrothgar. To go 
farther back in the mythology of our forefathers, the Loki of Scandinavian 
fable appears fometimes to have performed a fimilar character in the 
atfembly of his fellow deities: and we know that, among the Greeks, 
Homer on one occalion introduces Vulcan acting the part of joker 
(yeXwro-oLoe) to the gods of Olympus. But all thefe have no relationfhip 
whatever to the court-fool of modern times. 

The German writer Flogel, in his " Hiftory of Court Fools,"f has 
thrown this fubject into much confulion by introducing a great mafs of 
irrelevant matter ; and thofe who have iince compiled from Flogel, have 
made the confulion ftill greater. Much of this confulion has arifen from 


* " Charlemagne, an Anglo-Norman Poem of the Twelfth Century, now first 
published, by Franci>que Michel," i2mo., 8vo., London, 1836. 

f " Geschichte der Hofnarren, von Karl Friedrich Flogel," 8vo. Liegnitz und 
Leipzig, 1789. 

in Literature and Art. 

the mifunderftanding and confounding of names and terms. The mirnu 3j 
the jocnlator, the miniftrel, or whatever name this clafs of fociety 
went by, was not in any refpects identical with what we underftand by a 
court fool, nor does any iuch character as the latter appear in the feudal 
houfehold before the fourteenth century, as far as we are acquainted with 
the fecial manners and cuftoms of the olden time. The vaft extent of 
the early French r&mans de gefie, or Carlovingian romances, which are 
611ed with pictures of courts both of princes and barons, in which the 
court fool muit have been introduced had he been known at the time 
they were compofed, that is, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, 
contains, I believe, no trace of iuch perfonage : and the fame may be faid 
of the numerous other romances, fabliaux, and in fact all the literature of 
that period, one fo rich in works ihuftrative of contemporary manners in 
their moil minute detail. From thefe facts I conclude that the tingle 
brief charter publiihed by INI. Rigollot from a manufcript in the 
Imperial Library in Paris, is either mifunderftood or it prefents a 
very exceptional cafe. By this charter, John, king of England, grants 
to his follus, William Picol, or Piculph (as he is called at the clofe 
of the document), an eftate in Normandy named in the document 
Fons Otfanae (Menil-Ozenne in Mortain), with all its appurtenances, 
'•'to have and to hold, to him and to his heirs, by doing there-for to 
us once a year the fervice of one follus, as long as he lives : and after his 
death his heirs fhall hold it of us, by the fervice of one pair of gilt fpurs 
to be rendered annually to us." * The fervice (fervitium) here enjoined 
means the annual payment of the obligation of the feudal tenure, and 


* The words of this charter, as given by Rigollot, are : — "Joannes, D. G., etc. 
Sciatis nos dedisse et praesenti charta confirmasse Willelmo Picol, folio nostro, 
Fontem Ossanae, cum omnibus pertinenciis suis, habendum et tenendum sibi et 
haeredibus suis a faciendo inde nobis annuatim servitium unius folli quoad vixerit ; 
et post ejus decessum haeredes sui earn tenebunt, et per servirium unius paris calca- 
rium deauratorum nobis annuatim reddendo. Quare volumus et firmiter prascipimus 
quod praedictus Piculphus et haeredes sui habeant et teneant in perpetuum, bene ct 
in pace, libere et quiete, prsedictam terram." — Rigollot, Monnaies inconnues des 
Eveques des Innocens, etc, 8vo., Paris, 1837- 

204 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefaue 

therefore if follus is to be taken as fignifying " a fool," it only means 
that Pico! was to perform that character on one occafion in the courfe 
of the year. In this cafe, he may have been fome fool whom king 
John had taken into his fpecial favour ; but it certainly is no proof that 
the practice of keeping court fools then exifted. It is not improbable 
that this practice was firft. introduced in Germany, for Flogel fpeaks, 
though rather doubtfully, of one who was kept at the court of the 
emperor Rudolph I. (of Hapiburg), whofe reign lafted from 1273 to 1292. 
It is more certain, however, that the kings of France poffefTed court fools 
before the middle of the fourteenth century, and from this time anecdotes 
relating to them begin to be common. One of the earlier! and moll 
curious of thefe anecdotes, if it be true, relates to the celebrated victory of 
Sluys gained over the French fleet by our king Edward III. in the year 
1340. It is faid that no one dared to announce this difafter to the French 
king, Philippe VI., until a court fool undertook the talk. Entering the 
king's chamber, he continued muttering to himfelf, but loud enough to 
be heard, " Thofe cowardly Englifh! the chicken-hearted Britons!" 
"How lb, coufin?" the king inquired. "Why," replied the fool, 
" becaufe they have not courage enough to jump into the fea, like your 
French foldiers, who went over headlong from their Ihips, leaving thofe 
to the enemy who Ihowed no inclination to follow them." Philippe thus 
became aware of the full extent of his calamity. The inftitution of the 
court fool was carried to its greatefl degree of perfection during the 
fifteenth century ; it only expired in the age of Louis XIV. 

It was apparently with the court fool that the coftume was introduced 
which has ever fince been confidered as the characterise mark of folly. 
Some parts of this coflume, at leaft, appear to have been borrowed from 
an earlier dale. The gclotopoei of the Greeks, and the mimi and moriones 
of the Romans, fhaved their heads ; but the court fools perhaps adopted 
this fafhion as a fatire upon the clergy and monks. Some writers pro- 
fefled to doubt whether the fools borrowed from the monks, or the monks 
from the fools ; and Cornelius Agrippa, in his treatife on the Vanity of 
Sciences, remarks that the monks had their heads "all fhaven like 
fools" {rafo toto capite ut fatui). The cowl, alfo, was perhaps adopted 


in Literature and Art. 


in derifion of the monks, but it was diftinguiihed by the addition of a 
pair of affes' ears, or by a cock's head and comb, which formed its termi- 
nation above, or by both. The court fool was alfo furnifhed with a ftaff 
or club, which became eventually his bauble. The bells were another 
neceffary article in the equipment of a court fool, perhaps alfo intended 
as a fatire on the cuftom of wearing fmall bells in the drefs, which pre- 

No. 127. Court Fools. 

vailed largely during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, efpecially 
among people who were fond of childifh oftentation. The fool wore alfo 
a party-coloured, or motley, garment, probably with the fame aim — that 
of fatirifing one of the ridiculous falhions of the fourteenth century. 

It is in the fifteenth century that we firft meet with the fool in full 


206 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

coftume in the illuminations or manufcripts, and towards the end of the 
century this coftume appears continually in engravings. It is alfo met 
with at this time among the fcalptures of buildings and the carvings of 
wood- work. The two very interefting examples given in our cut No. 127 
are taken from carvings of the fifteenth century, in the church of 
St. Levan, in Cornwall, near the Land's End. They reprefent the court 
fool in two varieties of coftume -, in the firft, the fool's cowl, or cap, ends 
in the cock's head ; in the other, it is fitted with afTes' ears. There are 
vqriations alfo in other parts of the drefsj for the fecond only has bells 
to his fleeves, and the firft carries a Angularly formed ftaff, which may 

iVb.128. A Fool and a Grimace-maker. 

perhaps be intended for a flrap or belt, with a buckle at the end ; while 
the other has a ladle in his hand. As one pofleffes a beard, and prefents 
marks of age in his countenance, while the other is beardlefs and youthful, 
we may confider the pair as an old fool and a young fool. 

The Corniih churches are rather celebrated for their early carved 
wood-work, chiefly of the fifteenth century, of which two examples are 
given in our cut, No. 128, taken from bench pannels in the church 
of St. Mullion, on the Corniih coaft, a little to the north of the 


in Literature and Art, 207 

Lizard Point. The firft has bells hanging to the fleeves, and is no doubt 
intended to reprefent folly in fome form ; the other appears to be intended 
for the head of a woman making grimaces.* 

The fool had long been a character among the people before he became 
a court fool, for Folly — or, as ihe was then called, "Mother Folly " — was 
one of the favourite objects of popular worihip in the middle ages, and, 
where that worfhip fprang up fpontaneoufly among the people, it grew with 
more energy, and prefented more hearty joyoufnefs and bolder fatire than 
under the patronage of the great. Our forefathers in thole times were 
accuftomed to form themfelves into alfociations or focieties of a mirthful 
character, parodies of thofe of a more ferious defcription, efpecially eccle- 
fiaftical, and elected as their officers mock popes, cardinals, archbiihops and 
bifhops, kings, &c. They held periodical feftivals, riotous and licentious 
carnivals, which were admitted into the churches, and even taken under 
the efpecial patronage of the clergy, under fuch titles as " the feaft. of 
fools," " the feaft of the afs," (C the feaft of the innocents," and the like. 
There was hardly a Continental town of any account which had not its 
" company of fools," with its mock ordinances and mock ceremonies. In 
our own illand we had our abbots of mifrule and of unreafon. At their 
public feftivals fatirical fongs were fung and fatirical mafks and drelTes 
were worn; and in many of them, efpecially at a later date, brief fatirical 
dramas were acted. Thefe fatires atfumed much of the functions of 
modern caricature ; the caricature of the pictorial reprefentations, which 
were moltly permanent monuments and deftined for future generations, 
was naturally general in its character, but in the reprefentations of which 
I am fpeaking, which were temporary, and deligned to excite the mirth 
of the moment, it became perfonal, and, often, even political, and it was 
conftantly directed againft the ecclefiaftical order. The fcandal of the 
day furniihed it with abundant materials. A fragment of one of their 


* For the drawings of these interesting carvings from the Cornish churches, I 
am indebted to the kindness of Mr. J. T. Blight, the author of an extremely 
pleasing and useful guide to the beauties of a well-known district of Cornwall, 
entitled "A Week at the Land's End." 

208 Hi ft or y of Caricature and Grotefaue 

fongs of an early date, fung at one of thefe "feafts " at Rouen, has been 
preierved, and contains the following lines, written in Latin and 
French : — 

De ajino bono noftro, 
Meliori et optimo, 

Debemus faire fete. 
En revenant de Gravinaria, 
Un gros chardon reperit in via y 
II lui coupa la tete. 

Vir monachus in menfe "Julio 
Egrejfus eft e monafterio, 

C'est dom de la BucaUle ; 
Egrejfus eft fine licentia, 
Pour aller voir dona Venissia, 

Et faire la ripaille. 


For our good afs, 

The better and the beft, 

We ought to rejoice. 
In returning from Graviniere, 
A great thiftle he found in the iuay i 

He cut off its head. 

A monk in the month of July 
Went out of his monaftery, 

It is dom de la BucaUle : 
He ivent out ivithout licenfe, 
To pay a vifit to the dame de Venijfe, 

And make jovial cheer. 

It appears that De la Bucaille was the prior of the abbey of St. Taurin, 
at Rouen, and that the dame de Veniife was priorefs of St. Saviour, and 
thefe lines, no doubt, commemorate fome great fcandal of the day 
relating to the private relations between thefe two individuals. 

Thefe mock religious ceremonies are fuppofed to have been derived 
from the Roman Saturnalia; they were evidently of great antiquity in the 
mediaeval church, and were molt prevalent in France and Italy. Under 
the name of "the feafl of the iub-deacons " they are forbidden by the 
acts of the council of Toledo, in 6$$ ; at a later period, the French 
punned on the word Jims-diacres, and called them Saouls-diacres (Drunken 
Deacons), words w r hich had nearly the fame found. The "feari of the 


in Literature and Art. 209 

afs " is faid to be traced back in France as far as the ninth century. It 
was celebrated in moft of the great towns in that country, fuch as Rouen, 
Sens, Douai, &c, and the fervice for the occasion is actually preferred in 
fome of the old church books. From this it appears that the afs was led 
in proceffion to a place in the middle of the church, which had been 
decked out to receive it, and that the proceffion was led by two clerks, 
v/ho fung a Latin fong in praife of the animal. This fong commences 
by telling us how " the afs came from the earl, handfome and very ftrong, 
and moft fit for carrying burthens": — 

Orientis partibus 
Ad'ventwv'it afinus, 
Pule her et fortijfimus, 
Sarcinh aptifiimus. 

The refrain or burthen of the fong is in French, and exhorts the animal to 
join in the uproar — "Eh ! sir afs, chant now, fair mouth, bray, you fhall 
have hay enough, and oats in abundance :" — 

Hex, fire afnes, car chanter, 
Belle bcuche, rechignez, 
Vous aurez du Join ajfez, 
Et de Pcvoine a plantez. 

In this tone the chant continues through nine fimilar ftanzas, defcribing 
the mode of life and food of the afs. When the proceffion reached the 
altar, the prieft began a fervice in profe. Beleth, one of the celebrated 
doctors of the univerfity of Paris, who flourifhed in 1182, fpeaks of the 
" feaft of fools " as in exiftence in his time ; and the acts of the council 
of Paris, held in 121 2, forbid the prefence of archbiihops and bifhops, 
and more efpecially of monks and nuns, at the feafts of fools, " in which 
a ftaff was carried."* We know the proceedings of this latter feftival 
rather minutely from the accounts given in the ecclefiaftical cenfures. 


* " A festis follorumubi baculusaccipitur omnino abstineatur Idem fortius 

monachis et monialibus prohibemus.'" 

It was in the cathedral churches that they elected the archbifhop or bifhop 
of fools, whofe election was confirmed, and he was confecrated, with a 
multitude of buffooneries. He then entered upon his pontifical duties, 
wearing the mitre and carrying the crofier before the people, on whom 
he beftowed his folemn benediction. In the exempt churches, or thofe 
which depended immediately upon the Holy See, they elected a pope of 
fools (unum papam fatuorum), who wore fimilarly the enfigns of the 
papacy. Thefe dignitaries were aflifled by an equally burlefque and 
licentious clergy, who uttered and performed a mixture of follies and im- 
pieties during the church fervice of the day, which they attended in 
difguifes and mafquerade dreffes. Some wore mafks, or had their faces 
painted, and others were dreffed in women's clothing, or in ridiculous 
coftumes. On entering the choir, they danced and fang licentious fongs. 
The deacons and fub-deacons ate black puddings and fauiages on the altar 
while the prieft was celebrating ; others played at cards or dice under his 
eyes ; and others threw bits of old leather into the cenfer in order to 
raife a difagreeable fmell. After the mafs was ended, the people broke 
out into all forts of riotous behaviour in the church, leaping, dancing, and 
exhibiting themfelves in indecent poftures, and fome went as far as to 
ftrip themfelves naked, and in this condition they were drawn through 
the ftreets with tubs full of ordure and filth, which they threw about at 
the mob. Every now and then they halted, when they exhibited 
immodeft poftures and actions, accompanied with fongs and fpeeches of 
the fame character. Many of the laity took part in the proceffion, dreffed 
as monks and nuns. Thefe diforders feem to have been carried to their 
greateft degree of extravagance daring the fourteenth and fifteenth 


* On the subject of all these burlesques and popular feasts and ceremonies, the 
reader may consult FlogePs " Geschichte des Grotesk-Komischen, - " of which a new 
and enlarged edition has recently been given by Dr. Friedrich W. Ebeling, 8vo., 
Leipzig, 1862. Much interesting information on the subject was collected by Du 
Tilliot, in his " Memoires pour servir a PHistoire de la FSte des Fous,"" 8vo., 
Lausanne, 1751. See also Rigollor, in the work quoted above, and a popular article 
on the same subject will be found in my " Archaeological Album." 

in Litei'ature and Art. 

21 I 

Towards the fifteenth century, lay focieties, having apparently no 
connection with the clergy or the church, but of juft the fame burlefque 
character, arofe in France. One of the earlieft of thefe was formed by 
the clerks of the Bazoche, or lawyers' clerks of the Palais de Jullice in 
Paris, whofe prefident was a fort of king of mifrule. The other 
principal fociety of this kind in Paris took the rather mirthful name of 
Enfans fans Souci (Carelefs Boys) ; it confifted of young men of 
education, who gave to their prefident or chieftain the title of Prince 
des Sots (the Prince of Fools). Both thefe focieties compofed and 
performed farces, and other fmall dramatic pieces. Thefe farces were 
fatires on contemporary fociety, and appear to have been often very 

Almoft the only monuments of the older of thefe focieties confift of 
coins, or tokens, flruck in lead, and fometimes commemorating the names 
of their mock dignitaries. A considerable number of thefe have been 
found in France, and an account of them, with engravings, was publifhed 
by Dr. Rigollot fome years ago.* Our cut No. 129 will ferve as an 

No. 129. Money of the Arc hbijhop of the Innocents. 

example. It reprefents a leaden token of the Archbifhop of the 
Innocents of the parifh of St. Firmin, at Amiens, and is curious as bearing 
a date. On one fide the archbifhop of the Innocents is reprefented in 
the act of giving his bleffing to his flock, furrounded by the infcription, 
moneta • archiepi • scti • firmini. On the other fide we have the 



Monnaies inconnues des Ev&ques des Innocens, des Fous," &c, Pari? 

2 1 2 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

name of the individual who that year held the office of archbifhop, 
nicolavs • gavdram • archiepvs ' 1520, furrounding a group confiding 
of two men, one of whom is drefled as a fool, holding between them a 
bird, which has fomewhat the appearance of a magpie. Our cut 
No. 130 is ftill more curious ; it is a token of the pope of fools. On one 

No. 130. Money of the Pope of Fools 

fide appears the pope with his tiara and double crofs, and a fool in full 
coftume, who approaches his bauble to the pontifical crofs. It is certainly 
a bitter caricature on the papacy, whether that were the intention or not. 
Two perfons behind, drefled apparently in fcholafiic coftume, feem 
to be merely fpectators. The infcription is, moneta * nova • adriani • 
stvltorv [m] • pape (the laft e being in the field of the piece), "new money 
of Adrian, the pope of fools." The infcription on the other fide of the 
token is one frequently repeated on thefe leaden medals, stvltorv [m] * 
infinitvs • est * nvmervs, " the number of fools is infinite." In the 
field we fee Mother Folly holding up her bauble, and before her a 
grotefque figure in a cardinal's hat, apparently kneeling to her. It is 
rather furprifing that we find fo few allufions to thefe burlefque focieties 
in the various clafles of pictorial records from which the fubject of thefe 
chapters has been illuftrated 5 but we have evidence that they were not 
altogether overlooked. Until the latter end of the laft century, the 
mifereres of the church of St. Spire, at Corbeil, near Paris, were 
remarkable for the fingular carvings with which they were decorated, and 
which have fince been deflroyed, but fortunately they were engraved by 


in Literature and Art. 


Millin. One of them, copied in our cut No. 131, evidently reprefents 
the bifhop of fools conferring his bleffing ; the fool's bauble occupies the 
place of the paftoral ftaff. 

No. 131. The Bijhop of Fools. 

2 1 4 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 







THERE is Hill one cycle of fatire which almoft belongs to the middle 
ages, though it only became developed at their clofe, and became 
molt popular after they were paft. There exifted, at leaft as early as the 
beginning of the thirteenth century, a legendary flory of an interview 
between three living and three dead men, which is ufually told in French 
verfe, and appears under the title of "Des trois vifs et des trois morts." 
According to fome verfions of the legend, it was St. Macarius, the 
Egyptian reclufe, who thus introduced the living to the dead. The 
verfes are fometimes accompanied with figures, and thefe have been 
found both fculptured and painted on ecclefiaftical buildings. At a later 
period, apparently early in the fifteenth century, fome one extended this 
idea to all ranks of fociety, and pictured a fkeleton, the emblem of death, 
or even more than one, in communication with an individual of each 
clafs; and this extended fcene, from the manner of the grouping — in 
which the dead appeared to be wildly dancing off with the living-— 
became known as the "Dance of Death." As the earlier legend of the 
three dead and the three living was, however, ftill often introduced 
at the beginning of it, the whole group was raoft generally known — 
efpecially during the fifteenth century — as the " Danfe Macabre," or 


in Literature and Art. 2 1 5 

Dance of Macabre, this name being confidered as a mere corruption of 
Macarius. The temper of the age — in which death in every form was 
conftantly before the eyes of all, and in which people fought to regard 
life as a mere tranfitory moment of enjoyment — gave to this grim idea of 
the fellowthip of death and life great popularity, and it was not only 
painted on the walls of churches, but it was fufpended in tapeflry around 
people's chambers. Sometimes they even attempted to reprefent it in 
mafquerade, and we are told that in the month of October, 1424, the 
" Danfe Macabre " was publicly danced by living people in the cemetery 
of the Innocents, in Paris — a fit place for fo lugubrious a performance — 
in the prefence of the Duke of Bedford and the Duke of Burgundy, who 
came to Paris after the battle of Verneuil. During the reft of the century 
we find not unfrequently alluvions to the "Danfe Macabre." The 
Englifh poet Lydgate wrote a feries of ftanzas to accompany the figures, 
and it was the fubjecl: of fome of the earlieft engravings on wood. In 
the pofture and accompaniments of the figures reprefenting the different 
claffes of fociety, and in the greater or lefs reluctance with which the 
living accept their not very attractive partners, fatire is ufually implied, 
and it is in fome cafes accompanied with drollery. The figure reprefent- 
ing death has almoft always a grimly mirthful countenance, and appears 
to be dancing with good will. The moll remarkable early reprefentation 
of the " Danfe Macabre " now preferved, is that painted on the wall of 
the church of La Chaife Dieu, in Auvergne, a beautiful fac-fimile of 
which was publilhed a few years ago by the well-known antiquary 
M. Jubinal. This remarkable picture begins with the figures of Adam 
and Eve, who are introducing death into the world in the form of a 
ferpent with a death's head. The dance is opened by an ecclefiaftic 
preaching from a pulpit, towards whom death is leading firft in the dance 
the pope, for each individual takes his precedence ftriclly according to his 
clafs — alternately an ecclefiaftic and a layman. Thus next after the pope 
comes the emperor, and the cardinal is followed by the king. The 
baron is followed by the bifhop, and the grim partner of the latter appears 
to pay more attention to the layman than to his own prieft, fo that two 
dead men appear to have the former in charge. The group thus repre- 
fent ed 

216 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

fented by the nobleman and the two deaths, is copied in our cut No. 132, 
and will ferve as an example of the ftyle and grouping of this remarkable 
painting. After a few other figures, perhaps lefs Unking, we come to 
the merchant, who receives the advances of his partner with a thoughtful 
air ; while immediately after him another death is trying to make him- 
felf more acceptable to the bafhful nun by throwing a cloak over his 
nakednefs. In another place two deaths armed with bows and arrows are 

No. 1 32. The Knight in the Dance of Death. 

fcattering their fhafts rather dangeroufly. Soon follow fome of the more 
gay and youthful members of fociety. Our cut No. 133 reprefents the 
mufician, who appears alio to attra6t the attentions of two of the perfe- 
cutors. In his difmay he is treading under foot his own viol. The 
dance clofes with the lower orders of fociety, and is concluded by a group 
which is not fo eafily underftood. Before the end of the fifteenth century, 
there had appeared in Paris feveral editions of a feries of bold engravings 

in Literature and Art. 


on wood, in a fmall folio fize, reprefenting the fame dance, though fome- 
what differently treated. France, indeed, appears to have been the 
native country of the " Danfe Macabre." But in the century following 
the beautiful fet of drawings by the great artiflHans Holbein, firft publifhed 
at Lyons in 1538, gave to the Dance of Death a Hill greater and wider 

No. 133. The Mujician in Death's Hands. 

celebrity. From this time the fubjects of this dance were commonly 
introduced in initial letters, and in the engraved borders of pages, 
efpecially in books of a religious character. 

Death may truly be faid to have ihared with Folly that melancholy 
period — the fifteenth century. As fociety then prefented itfelf to the 
eye, people might ealily fuppofe that the world was running mad, and 
folly, in one ihape or other, feemed to be the principle which ruled moft 
men's actions. The jocular focieties, defcribed in my lafl chapter, which 
multiplied in France during the fifteenth century, initiated a fort of 
mock worfhip of Folly. That fort of inauguration of death which was 

F f performed 

21 8 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

performed in the "Danfe Macabre," was of French growth, but the 
grand crufade againft folly appears to have originated in Germany. 
Sebaftian Brandt was a native of Strafburg, born in 1458. He ftudied 
in that city and in Bale, became a celebrated profeffor in both thofe 
places, and died at the former in 1^20. The " Ship of Fools," which has 
immortalifed the name of Sebaftian Brandt, is believed to have been firft 
published in the year J 494. The original German text went through 
numerous editions within a few years ; a Latin tranflation was equally 
popular, and it was afterwards edited and enlarged by Jodocus Badius 
Afcenfius. A French text was no lefs fuccefsful ; an Englifh tranflation 
was printed by Richard Pynfon in 1509 ; a Dutch verfion appeared in 
1^19. During the fixteenth century, Brandt's "Ship of Fools" was the 
moil popular of books. Tt confifts of a feries of bold woodcuts, which 
form its characteriftic feature, and of metrical explanations, written by 
Brandt, and annexed to each cut. Taking his text from the words of the 
preacher, " Stultorum numerus eft: infmitus," Brandt expofes to the eye, in 
all its fhades and forms, the folly of his contemporaries, and bares to view 
its roots and caufes. The cuts are efpecially interefting as ftriking pictures 
of contemporary manners. The " Ship of Fools " is the great fhip of the 
world, into which the various defcriptions of fatuity are pouring from all 
quarters in boat-loads. The firft folly is that of men who collected great 
quantities of books, not for their utility, but for their rarity, or beauty of 
execution, or rich bindings, fo that we fee that bibliomania had already taken 
its place among human vanities. The fecond clafs of fools were interefted 
and partial judges, who fold juftice for money, and are reprefented under 
the emblem of two fools throwing a boar into a caldron, according to the 
old Latin proverb, Agere aprum in lebetem. Then come the various follies 
of mifers, fops, dotards, men who are foolifhly indulgent to their children, 
mifchief-makers, and defpifers of good advice ; of nobles and men in 
power; of the profane and the improvident; of fooliih lovers; of 
extravagant eaters and drinkers, &c, &c. Foolifh talking, hypocrify, 
frivolous purfuits, ecclefiaftical corruptions, impudicity, and a great 
number of other vices as well as follies, are duly paffed in review, and are 
reprefented in various forms of fatirical caricature, and fometimes in 


in Literature and Art, 


L 9 

limpler unadorned pictures. Thus the foolifh valuers of things are repre- 
fented by a fool holding a balance, one (bale of which contains the fun, 
moon, and ftars, to reprefent heaven and heavenly things, and the other a 
oaftle and fields, to reprefent earthly things, the latter fcale overweighing 
the other ; and the procraftinator is pictured by another fool, with a parrot 
perched on his head, and a magpie on each hand, all repeating eras, eras, 
eras (to-morrow). Our cut No. 134 reprefents a group of difiurbers of 

Difturbers of Church Service 

church fervice. It was a common practice in former days to take to 
church hawks (which were conftantly carried about as the outward enfign 
of the gentleman) and dogs. The fool has here thrown back his fool's-cap 
to exhibit more fully the fafhionable "gent" of the day ; he carries his 
hawk on his hand, and wears not only a falhionable pair of fhoes, but very 
fafhionable clogs alio. Thefe gentlemen a la mode, turgentes genere et 
natalibus altis, we are told, were the perfons who disturbed the church 


220 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

fervice by the creaking of their fhoes and clogs, the noife made by their 
birds, the barking and quarrelling of their dogs, by their own whifperings, 
and efpecially with immodeft women, whom they met in church as in a 
convenient place of affignation. All thefe forms of the offence are 
exprefled in the picture. Our fecond example cut No. 135;, which forms 

No. 1 3 5. Mendicants on their Travels. 

the fifty-ninth title or fubje6t in the " Ship of Fools," reprefents a party 
of the beggars with which, either lay or ecclefiaftical, the country was 
then overrun. In the explanation, thefe wicked beggars are defcribed as 
indulging in idlenefs, in eating, drinking, rioting, and fleep, while they 
levy contributions on the charitable feelings of the honeft and induftrious, 
and, under cover of begging, commit robbery wherever they find the 
opportunity. The beggar, who appears to be only a deceptive cripple, 
leads his donkey laden with children, whom he is bringing up in the fame 
profeffion, while his wife lingers behind to indulge in her bibulous pro- 

in Literature and Art. 221 

peniities. Thefe cuts will give a tolerable notion of the general chara&er 
of the whole, which amount in number to a hundred and twelve, and 
therefore prefent a great variety of fubje6ts relative to almoft every clafs 
and profeffion of life. 

We may remark, however, that after Folly had thus run through all 
the ftages of fociety, until it had reached the loweft of all, the ranks of 
mendicity, the gods themfelves became alarmed, the more fo as this great 
movement was directed efpecially againft Minerva, the goddefs of wifdom, 
and they held a conclave to provide againft it. The remit is not told, 
but the courfe of Folly goes on as vigoroufly as ever. Ignorant fools 
who fet up for phyficians, fools who cannot underftand jokes, unwife 
mathematicians, aftrologers, of the latter of which the moralifer fays, in his 
Latin verfe — 

Siqua voles forth pranojcere damna futurar, 

Et vitare malum, fol tibi figna dabit. 
Sed tibi, ftulte, tut cur non dedit ille furoris 

Signa ? aut,Ji dederit, cur tanta mala fubis ? 
Nondum grammatical callis primordia, et audes 

Vim cceli radio fuppofuijfe tuo. 

The next cut is a very curious one, and appears to reprefent a difTeding- 
houfe of this early period. Among other chapters which afford interefting 
pictures of that time, and indeed of all times, we may inftance thofe of 
litigious fools, who are always going to law, and who confound blind 
juftice, or rather try to unbind her eyes ; of filthy-tongued fools, who 
glorify the race of fwine ; of ignorant fcholars ; of gamblers ; of bad and 
thievifh cooks j of low men who feek to be high, and of high who are 
defpifers of poverty ; of men who forget that they will die 5 of irreligious 
men and blafphemers ; of the ridiculous indulgence of parents to children, 
and the ungrateful return which was made to them foi it ; and of women's 
pride. Another title defcribes the ruin of Chriftianity : the pope, 
emperor, king, cardinals, &c, are receiving willingly from a fuppliant fool 
the cap of Folly, while two other fools are looking derinvely upon them 
from an adjoining wall. It need hardly be faid that this was published 
on the eve of the Reformation. 

In the midft. of the popularity which greeted the appearance of the 


222 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

work of Sebaftian Brandt, it attra6ted the fpecial attention of a celebrated 
preacher of the time named Johann Geiler. Geiler was born at Schaff- 
haufen, in Switzerland, in 1445, but having loft his father when only 
three years of age, he was educated by his grandfather, who lived at 
Keyferfberg, in Alface, and hence he was commonly called Geiler of 
Keyferfberg. He ftudied in Freiburg and Bale, obtained a great repu- 
tation for learning, was efteemed a profound theologian, and was finally 
fettled in Strafburg, where he continued to mine as a preacher until his 
death in 15 10. He was a bold man, too, in the caufe of truth, and de- 
claimed with earneft zeal againft the corruptions of the church, and efpe- 
cially againft the monkifh orders, for he compared the black monks to the 
devil, the white monks to his dam, and the others he faid were their 
chickens. On another occafion he faid that the qualities of a good monk 
were an almighty belly, an afs's back, and a raven's mouth. He told his 
congregation from the pulpit that a great reformation was at hand, that 
he did not expect to live to fee \i himfelf, but that many of thofe who 
heard him would live to fee it. As may be fuppofed, the monks hated 
him, and tpoke of him wdth contempt. They faid, that in his fermons he 
took his texts, not from the Scriptures, but from the " Ship of Fools " of 
Sebaftian Brandt ; and, in fact, during the year 1498, Geiler preached at 
Strafburg a feries of fermons on the follies of his time, which were 
evidently founded upon Brandt's book, for the various follies were taken 
in the fame order. They were originally compiled in German, bat one 
of Geiler's fcholars, Jacob Other, tranflated them into Latin, and 
publifhed them, in 1^01, under the title of " Navicula five Speculum 
Fatuorum praeftantiffimi facrarum literarum doctoris Johannis Geiler." 
Within a few years this work went through feveral editions both in Latin 
and in German, fome of them illuftrated by woodcuts. The ftyle of 
preaching is quaint and curious, full of fatirical wit, which is often coarfe, 
according to the manner of the time, fometimes very indelicate. Each 
fermon is headed by the motto, " Stultorum infmitus eft numerus." 
Geiler takes for his theme in each fermon one of the titles of Brandt's 
" Ship of Fools," and he feparates them into fubdi virions, or branches, 
which he calls the bells (nolas) from the fool's-cap. 


in Literature and Art. 223 

The other fcholar who did moft to fpread the knowledge of Brandt's 
work, was Jodocus Badius, who allumed the additional name of Afcenfius 
becanfe he was born at Affen, near Bruffels, in 1462. He was a very diftin- 
guiihed fcholar, but is beft known for having eftablifhed a celebrated 
printing eftablifhment in Paris, where he died in 1535. I have already 
ftated that Badius edited the Latin tranflation of the " Ship of Fools " of 
Sebaftian Brandt, with additional explanations of his own, but he was one 
of the firft of Brandt's imitators. He feems to have thought that Brandt's 
book was not complete — that the weaker fex had not received its fair fhare 
of importance j and apparently in 1498, while Geiler was turning the 
" Stultifera Navis " into fermons, Badius compiled a fort of fupplement to 
it {additamentum) , to which he gave the title of " Stultiferae naviculae, feu 
Scaphae, Fatuarum Mulierum," the Boats of Foolifh Women. As far as 
can be traced, the firft edition appears to have been printed in 1502. The 
firft cut reprefents the fhip carrying Eve alone of the female race, whole 
folly involved the whole world. The book is divided into five chapters, 
according to the number of the five fenfes, each fenfe reprefented by a 
boat carrying its particular clafs of foolifh women to the great fhip of 
foolifh women, which lies off at anchor. The text confifts of a differtation 
on the ufe and abufe of the particular fenfe which forms the fubflance of 
the chapter, and it ends with Latin verfes, which are given as the boat- 
man's celeufma, or boat fong. The firft of thefe boats is the fcap ha Jtultae 
vifionis adftultiferam navem perveniens — the boat of foolifh feeing proceed- 
ing to the fhip of fools. A party of gay ladies are taking poffeffion of the 
boat, carrying with them their combs, looking-glaffes, and all other 
implements neceffary for making them fair to be looked upon. The 
fecond boat is the fcapha auditionis fatuoe, the boat of foolifh hearing, in 
which the ladies are playing upon mufical inftruments. The third is the 
fcapha olfaclionis Jlultce, the boat of foolifh fmell, and the pictorial illuftra- 
tion to it is partly copied in our cut No. 136. In the original fome of the 
ladies are gathering fweet-fmelling flowers before they enter the boat, 
while on board a pedlar is vending his perfume. One folk femme, with 
her fool's cap on her head, is buying a pomander, or, as we fhould perhaps 
now fay, a fcent-ball, from the itinerant dealer. Figures of pomanders 


224 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

are extremely rare, and this is an interefling example; in fafit, it is only 
recently that our Shakfpearian critics really underftood the meaning of the 
word. A pomander was a fmall globular vefTel, perforated with holes, 
and filled with ftrong perfumes, as it is reprefented in our woodcut. The 

No. 136. The Boat of P leaf ant Odours. 

fourth of thefe boats is that of foolifh tailing, fcapha guff alionis fatuce, 
and the ladies have their well-furnifhed table on board the boat, and are 
largely indulging in eating and drinking. In the laft of thefe boats, the 
fcapha contaSiionis fatuce, or boat of foolifh feeling, the women have men on 
board, and are proceeding to great liberties with them ; one of the gentle 
damfels, too, is picking the pocket of her male companion in a very 
unlady-like manner. 

Two ideas combined in this peculiar field of fatiric literature, that of 
the fhip and that of the fools, now became popular, and gave rife to a hoft 
of imitators. There appeared mips of health, mips of penitence, ihips of 
all forts of things, on the one hand ; and on the other, folly was a favourite 
theme of fatire from many quarters. One of the mofl remarkable of the 
perfonages involved in this latter warfare, was the great fcholar Defiderius 
Erafmus, of Rotterdam, who was born in that city in 1467. Like molt 
of thefe fatirifls, Erafmus was ftrongly imbued with the fpirit of the 


in Literature and Art, 225 

Reformation, and 'he was the acquaintance and friend of thofe to whom 
the Reformation owed a great part of its fuccefs. In 1497, when the 
"Ship of Fools" of Sebaffian Brandt was in the firft full flufli of its 
popularity, Erafmus came to England, and was fo well received, that 
from that time forward his literary life feemed more identified with our 
illand than with any other country. His name is ftill a fort of houfehold 
word in our univerfities, efpecially in that of Cambridge. He made here 
the friendly acquaintance of the great Sir Thomas More, himfelf a lover 
of mirth, and one of thofe whofe names are celebrated for having kept a 
court fool. In the earlier years of the fixteenth century, Erafmus vifited 
Italy, and paffed two or three years there. He returned thence to Eng- 
land, as appears, early in the year 1508. It is not eafy to decide whether 
his experience of fociety in Italy had convinced him more than ever 
that folly was the presiding genius of mankind, or what other feeling 
influenced him, but one of the firfl remits of his voyage was the Mojp/ac 
'Ey/cw/iioy (Morice Encomium), or " Praife of Folly." Erafmus dedicated 
this little jocular treatile to Sir Thomas More as a fort of pun upon his 
name, although he protefls that there was a great contraft between the 
two characters. Erafmus takes much the fame view of folly as Brandt, 
Geiler, Badius, and the others, and under this name he writes a bold 
fatire on the whole frame of contemporary fociety. The fatire is placed 
in the mouth of Folly herfelf (the Mere Folie of the jocular clubs), who 
delivers from her pulpit a declamation in which fhe lets forth her qualities 
and praifes. She boafts of the greatnefs of her origin, claims as her 
kindred the fophifls, rhetoricians, and many of the pretentious fcholars 
and wife men, and defcribes her birth and education. She claims divine 
affinity, and boafls of her influence over the world, and of the beneficent 
manner in which it was exercifed. All the world, fhe pretends, was 
ruled under her aufpices, and it was only in her prefence that mankind 
was really happy. Hence the happieft ages of man are infancy, before 
wifdom has come to interfere, and old age, when it has paffed away. 
Therefore, (he fays, if men would remain faithful to her, and avoid 
wifdom altogether, they would pafs a life of perpetual youth. In this 
long difcourfe of the influence of folly, written by a man of the known 

g g fentiments 

226 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

fentiments of Erafmus, it would be ftrange if the Romifh church, with 
its monks and ignorant priefthood, its faints, and relics, and miracles, did 
not find a place. Erafmus intimates that the fuperflitious follies had 
become permanent, becaufe they were profitable. There are fome, he 
tells us, who cherrfhed the foolifh yet pleafant perfuafion, that if they 
fixed their eyes devoutly on a figure of St. Chriftopher, carved in wood 

No. 137. Superjiition. 

or painted on the wall, they would be fafe from death on that day ; with 
many other examples of equal credulity. Then there are your pardons, 
your meafures of purgatory, which may be bought off at fo much the 
hour, or the day, or the month, and a multitude of other abfurdities. 
Ecclefiaftics, fcholars, mathematicians, philofophers, all come in for their 
mare of the refined fatire of this book, which, like the " Ship of Fools," 
has gone through innumerable editions, and has been tranflated into 
many languages. 

In an early French translation, the text of this work of Erafmus is 
embellifhed with fome of the woodcuts belonging to Brandt's " Ship of 


in Literature and Art. 


Fools," which, it need hardly be remarked, are altogether inappropriate, 
but the " Praife of Folly " was deftined to receive illustrations from a more 
diftinguifhed pencil. A copy of the book came into the hands of Hans 
Holbein — it may poffibly have been prefented to him by the author — 
and Holbein took lb much intereft in it, that he amufed himfelf with 
drawing illustrative lketches with a pen in the margins. This book after- 
wards parted into the library of the Univerfity of Bale, where it was found 
in the latter part of the feventeenth century, and thefe drawings have 
fince been engraved and added to mod of tht fubfequent editions. Many 
of thefe lketches are very flight, and fome have not a very clofe con- 
nection with the text of Erafmus, but they are all characferiftic, and fhow 
the fpirit — the fpirit of the age — in which Holbein read his author. 
I give two examples of them, taken almoit haphazard, for it would 
require a longer analvfis of the book than can be given here to make 
many of them understood. The firft of thefe, our cut No. 137, reprefents 
the fooliQi warrior, who has a fword long enough to truft to it for defence, 

Preacher Felly ending her Sermon. 

bowing with trembling fuperftition before a painting of St. Chriflopher 
crofling the water with the infant Chrift on his fhoulder, as a more cer- 
tain fecurity for his fafety during that day. The other, our cut No. 138, 
reprefents the preacher, Lady Folly, defcending from her pulpit, after fhe 
bas concluded her fermon. 

228 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 





THE people in the middle ages, as well as its fuperiors, had its comic 
literature and legend. Legend was the literature efpecially of the 
peafant, and in it the fpirit of burlefque and fatire manifeited itfelf in 
many ways. Simplicity, combined with vulgar cunning, and the 
circumftances arifing out of the exercife of thefe qualities, prefented the 
greateft ftimulants to popular mirth. They produced their popular 
heroes, who, at nrft, were much more than half legendary, fuch as the 
familiar fpirit, Robin Goodfellow, whofe pranks were a fource of con- 
tinual amufement rather than of terror to the fimple minds which 
liftened to thofe who told them. Thefe ftories excited with nill greater 
intereft as their fpiritual heroes became incarnate, and the auditors were 
perfuaded that the perpetrators of fo many artful ads of cunning and of 
fo many mifchievous practical jokes, were but ordinary men like them- 
felves. It was but a flgn or fymbol of the change from the mythic age 
to that of practical life. One of the earlier! of thefe flories of mythic 
comedy transformed into, or at leaft prefented under the guife of, 
humanity, is that of Brother Rum. Although the earlieft vernon of this 
ftory with which we are acquainted dates only from the beginning of the 
flxteenth century,* there is no reafon for doubt that the ftory itfelf was 
in exiftence at a much more remote period. 

* This earliest known version is in German verse, and was printed in 151 5. 
An English version, in prose, was printed in 1620, and is reprinted in Thoms's 
" Collection of Early Prose Romances.'" 

in Literature and Art. 229 

Rufh was, in truth, a fpirit of darknefs, whofe miffion it was to 
wander on the earth tempting and impelling people to do evil. Perceiv- 
ing that the internal condition of a certain abbey was well fuited to his 
purpofe, he prefented himfelf at its gates in the difguife of a youth who 
wanted employment, and was received as an affiftant in the kitchen, but 
he pleafed the monks beft by the lkill with which he furnifhed them all 
with fair companions. At length he quarrelled with the cook, and threw 
him into the boiling caldron, and the monks, affuming that his death 
was accidental, appointed Rufh to be cook in his place. After a fervice 
of feven years in the kitchen — which appears to have been confidered a 
fair apprenticefhip for the new honour which was to be conferred upon him 
— the abbot and convent rewarded him by making him a monk. He now 
followed flill more earneftly his defign for the ruin of his brethren, both 
foul and body, and began by railing a quarrel about a woman, which led, 
through his contrivance, to a fight, in which the monks all fuffered grievous 
bodily injuries, and in which Brother Rufh was efpecially active. He 
went on in this way until at laft his true character was accidentally 
difcovered. A neighbouring farmer, overtaken by night, took fhelter in 
a hollow tree. It happened to be the night appointed by Lucifer to 
meet his agents on earth, and hear from them the report of their feveral 
proceedings, and he had felected this very oak as the place of rendezvous. 
There Brother Rufh appeared, and the farmer, in his hiding-place, heard 
his confeffion from his own lips, and told it to the abbot, who, being as 
it would appear a magician, conjured him into the form of a horfe, and 
banifhed him. Rufh hurried away to England, where he laid afide his 
equine form, and entered the body of the king's daughter, who fuffered 
great torments from his pofTeffion. At length fome of the great doctors 
from Paris came and obliged the fpirit to confefs that nobody but the 
abbot of the diftant monaftery had any power over him. The abbot 
came, called him out of the maiden, and conjured him more forcibly 
than ever into the form of a horfe. 

Such is, in mere outline, the ftory of Brother Rufh, which was 
gradually enlarged by the addition of new incidents. But the people 
wanted a hero who prefented more of the character of reality, who, in 


230 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

fa6t, might be recognifed as one of themfelves ; and fuch heroes appear 
to have exifted at all times. They ufually reprefented a clafs in fociety, 
and efpecially that clafs which confifted of idle fharpers, who lived by 
their wits, and which was more numerous and more familiarly known in 
the middle ages than at the prefent day. Folly and cunning combined 
prefented a never-failing fubje<5t of mirth. This clafs of adventurers firft 
came into print in Germany, and it is there that we find its firft popular 
hero, to whom they gave the name of Eulenfpiegel, which means literally 
" the owl's mirror," and has been fince ufed in German in the fenfe of a 
merry fool. Tyll Eulenfpiegel, and his ftory, are fuppofed to have be- 
longed to the fourteenth century, though we firft know them in the printed 
book of the commencement of the fixteenth, which is believed to have 
come from the pen of the well-known popular writer, Thomas Murner, 
of whom I fhall have to fpeak more at length in another chapter. The 
popularity of this work was very great, and it was quickly translated 
into French, Engliih, Latin, and almoft every other language of Weftern 
Europe. In the Englifh verfion the name alio was tranflated, and 
appears under the form of Owleglafs, or, as it often occurs with the 
fuperfluous afpirate, Howleglafs.* According to the ftory, Tyll Eulen- 
fpiegel was the fon of a peafant, and was born at a village called Kneit- 
lingen, in the land of Brunfwick. The ftory of his birth may be given in 
the words of the early Engliih verfion, as a fpecimen of its quaint and 
antiquated language : — 

" Yn the lande of Sassen, in the vyllage of Ruelnige, there dwelleth a man 
that was named Nicholas Howleglas, that had a wife named Wypeke, that lay a 
childbed in the same wyllage, and that chylde was borne to christening and named 
Tyell Howleglass. And than the chyld was brought into a taverne, where the 
father was wyth his gosseppes and made good chere. Whan the mydwife had wel 


* The title of this English translation is, " Here beginneht a merye Jest of a 
man that was called Howleglas, and of many marveylous thinges and jestes that 
he dyd in his lyfe, in Eastlande, and in many other places. - " It was printed by 
Coplande, supposed about 1520. An edition of Eulenspiegel in English, by 
Mr. Kenneth Mackenzie, has recently been published by Messrs. Triibner & Co., 
of Paternoster Row. 

in Literature and Art. 


dronke, she toke the childe to bere it home, and in the wai was a litle bridg over a 
muddy water. And as the mydwife would have gone over the lytle brydge, she fel 
into the mudde with the chylde, for she had a lytel dronk to much wyne, for had 
not helpe come quickly, the had both be drowned in the mudde. And whan the 
came home with the childe, the made a kettle of warm water to be made redi, and 
therin they washed the child clen of the mudde. And thus was Howleglas thre 
tymes in one dai cristened, once at the churche, once in the mudde, and once in the 
warm water." 

It will be feen that the Englifh tranflator was not very correct in his 
geography or in his names. The child, having thus efcaped deftruclion, 
grew rapidly, and difplayed an extraordinary love of mifchief, with various 
other evil propenfities, as well as a cunning beyond his age, in efcaping 
the rifks to which thefe expofed him. At a very early age, he difplayed 
a remarkable talent for fetting the other children by the ears, and this 
was his favourite amufement during life. His mother, who was now a 
widow, contemplating the extraordinary cunning of her child, which, as 
(he thought, mult necefTarily enfure his advancement in the world, refolved 
that he fhould no longer remain idle, and put him apprentice to a baker ; 
but his wicked and refilefs difpolition defeated all the good intentions of 
his parent, and Eulenfpiegel was obliged to leave his matter in confequence 
of his mal-pra6tices. One day his mother took him to a church-dedica- 
tion, and the child drank fo much at the feaft on that occafion, that he 
crept into an empty beehive and fell afleep, while his mother, thinking he 
had gone home, returned without him. In the night-time two thieves 
came into the garden to Ileal the bees, and they agreed to take firft the hive 
which was heaviefi. This, as may be fuppofed, proved to be the hive in 
which Eulenfpiegel was hidden, and they fixed it on a pole which they 
carried on their fhoulders, one before and one behind, the hive hanging 
between them. Eulenfpiegel, awakened by the movement, foon difcovered 
the pofition in which he was placed, and hit upon a plan for efcaping. 
Gently lifting the lid of the hive, he put out his arm and plucked the 
hair of the man before, who turned about and accufed his companion of 
infulting him. The other afferted that he had not touched him, and the 
firlt, only half fatisfied, continued to bear his fhare of the burthen, but he 
had not advanced many fteps when a (till (harper pull at his hair excited 


232 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefaue 

his great anger, and from wrathful words the two thieves proceeded to 
blows. While they were righting, Eulenfpiegel crept out of the hive and 
ran away. 

After leaving the baker, Eulenfpiegel became a wanderer in the 
world, gaining his living by his trickery and deception, and engaging 
himfelf in all forts of ftrange and ludicrous adventures. He ended every- 
where by creating difcord and ftrife. He became at different times a 
blackfmith, a thoemaker, a tailor, a cook, a drawer of teeth, and afTumed 
a variety of other characters, but remained in each fltuation only long 
enough to make it too hot for him, and to be obliged to fecure his retreat. 
He intruded himfelf into all claffes of fociety, and invariably came to 
fimilar refults. Many of his adventures, indeed, are fo droll that we can 
eafily underftand the great popularity they once enjoyed. But they are 
not merely anmfing — they prefent a continuous fatire upon contemporary 
fociety, upon a focial condition in which every pretender, every recklefs 
impoftor, every private plunderer or public depredator, faw the world 
expofed to him in its folly and credulity as an eafy prey. 

The middle ages poiTefTed another clais of thefe popular fatirical 
hiflories, which were attached to places rather than to perfons. There were 
few countries which did not poffefs a town or a difTrict, the inhabitants of 
which were celebrated for flupidity, or for roguery, or for fome other 
ridiculous or contemptible quality. We have feen, in a former chapter, 
the people of Norfolk enjoying this peculiarity, and, at a later period, the 
inhabitants of Pevenfey in Sulfex, and more efpecially thofe of Gotham in 
Nottinghamfhire, were fimilarly diftinguifhed. The inhabitants of many 
places in Germany bore this character, but their grand reprefentatives among 
the Germans were . the Schildburgers, a name which appears to belong 
entirely to the domain of fable. Schildburg, we are told, was a town 
"in Mifnopotamia, beyond Utopia, in the kingdom of Calecut." The 
Schildburgers were originally fo renowned for their wifdom, that they were 
continually invited into foreign countries to give their advice, until at 
length not a man was left at home, and their wives were obliged to 
afiume the charge of the duties of their hufbands. This became at length 
fo onerous, that the wives held a council, and refolved on defpatching a 


in Literature and Art. 233 

folemn meffao-e in writing to call the men home. This had the defired 
effect; all the Schildburgers returned to their own town, and w r ere fo 
joyfully received by their wives that they refolved upon leaving it no 
more. They accordingly held a council, and it was decided that, having 
experienced the great inconvenience of a reputation of wifdom, they 
would avoid it in future by aifuming the character of fools. One of the 
flrfl evil refults of their long neglect of home affairs was the want of a 
council-hall, and this want they now refolved to fupply without delay. 
They accordingly went to the hills and woods, cut down the timber, 
dragged it with great labour to the town, and in due time completed the 
erection of a handfome and fubftantial building. But, when they entered 
their new council-hall, what was their confirmation to find themfelves 
in perfect darknefs ! In fact, they had forgotten to make any windows. 
Another council was held, and one who had been among the wifeft in 
the days of their wifdom, gave his opinion very oracularly; the refult of 
which was that they mould experiment on every poflible expedient for 
introducing light into the hall, and that they fhould firft try that which 
feemed mofl likely to fucceed. They had obferved that the light of day 
was caufed by funfhine, and the plan propofed was to meet at mid-day 
when the fun was brighter!, and fill facks, hampers, jugs, and veffels of all 
kinds, with funlhine and daylight, which they propofed afterwards to 
empty into the unfortunate council-hall. Next day, as the clock ftruck 
one, you might fee a crowd of Schildburgers before the council-houfe 
door, bufily employed, fome holding the facks open, and others throwing 
the light into them with fhovels and any other appropriate implements 
which came to hand. While they were thus labouring, a ftranger came 
into the town of Schildburg, and, hearing what they were about, told 
them they were labouring to no purpofe, and offered to fhow them how 
to get the daylight into the hall. It is unneceffary to fay more than that 
this new plan was to make an opening in the roof, and that the Schild- 
burgers witneffed the effect with aftonifhment, and were loud in their 
gratitude to their new comer. 

The Schildburgers met with further difficulties before they completed 
their council-hall. They fowed a field with fait, and when the falt-plant 

n h grew 

234 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotejque 

grew up next year, after a meeting of the council, at which it was ftiffly 
difputed whether it ought to be reaped, or mowed, or gathered in in fome 
other manner, it was finally difcovered that the crop confifted of nothing 
but nettles. After many accidents of this kind, the Schildburgers are 
noticed by the emperor, and obtain a charter of incorporation and freedom, 
but they profit little by it. In trying fome experiments to catch mice, 
they fet fire to their houfes, and the whole town is burnt to the ground, 
upon which, in their forrow, they abandon it altogether, and become, like 
the Jews of old, fcattered over the world, carrying their own folly into 
every country they vifit. 

The earlieft known edition of the hiftory of the Schildburgers was 
printed in 1597,* but the flory itfelf is no doubt older. It will be feen 
at once that it involves a fatire upon the municipal towns of the middle 
ages. A fimilar feries of adventures, only a little more clerical, bore the 
title of " Der Pfarrherrn vom Kalenberg," or the Parfon of Kalenberg, 
and was firft, as far as we know, publifhed in the latter half of the 
fixteenth century. The firft known edition, printed in 1582, is in profe. 
Von der Hagen, who reprinted a fubfequent edition in verfe, in a volume 
already quoted, feems to think that in its firft form the flory belongs to 
the fourteenth century. 

The Schildburgers of Germany were reprefented in England by the 
wife men of Gotham. Gotham is a village and parifh about feven miles to 
the fouth-weft of Nottingham, and, curioufly enough, a ftory is told accord- 
ing to which the folly of the men of Gotham, like that of the Schild- 
burgers, was at firft afTumed. It is pretended that one day king John, on 
his way to Nottingham, intended to pafs through the village of Gotham, 
and that the Gothamites, under the influence of fome vague notion that 
his prefence would be injurious to them, raifed difficulties in his way 
which prevented his vifit. The men of Gotham were now apprehenfive 
of the king's vengeance, and they refolved to try and evade it by afluming 
the character of fimpletons. When the king's officers came to Gotham 

* It was reprinted by Von der Hagen, in a little volume entitled "Narrenbuch j 
herausgegeben durch Friedrich Heinrich von der Hagen/'' i2mo., Halle, 181 1. 

in Literature and Art. 

2 35 

to inquire into the conduct of the inhabitants, they found them engaged 
in the moft extraordinary purfuits, fome of them feeking to drown an eel 
in a pond of water, others making a hedge round a tree to confine a 
cuckoo which had fettled in it, and others employing themfelves in fimilar 
futile purfuits. The commiffioners reported the people of Gotham to be 
no better than fools, and by this ftratagem they efcaped any further 
perfecution, but the character they affumed remained attached to them. 

This explanation is, of courfe, very late and very apocryphal; but 
there can be little doubt that the character of the wife men of Gotham 
is one of confiderable antiquity. The ftory is believed to have been 
drawn up in its prefent form by Andrew Borde, an Englifh writer of the 
reign of Henry VIII. It was reprinted a great number of times under 
the form of thofe popular books called chap-books, becaufe they were 
hawked about the country by itinerant bookfellers or chap-men. The 
acts of the Gothamites difplayed a greater degree of Simplicity even than 
thofe of the Schildburgers, but they are lefs connected. Here is one 
anecdote told in the unadorned language of the chap-books, in explana- 
tion of which it is only neceffary to {late that the men of Gotham admired 
greatly the note of the cuckoo. " On a time the men of Gotham fain 
would have pinn'd in the cuckow, that fhe might ring all the year ; and, 
in the midft of the town, they had a hedge made round in compafs, and 
got a cuckow and put her into it, and faid, ' Sing here, and you fhall lack 
neither meat nor drink all the year.' The cuckow, when fhe perceived 
herfelf encompaffed with the hedge, flew away. ' A vengeance on her/ 
faid thefe wife men, f we did not make our hedge high enough.'" On 
another occalion, having caught a large eel which offended them by its 
voracity, they affembled in council to deliberate on an appropriate punifh- 
ment, which ended in a refolution that it fhould be drowned, and the 
criminal was ceremonioufly thrown into a great pond. One day twelve 
men of Gotham went a-fifhing, and on their way home they fuddenly 
difcovered that they had loft one of their number, and each counted in his 
turn, and could find only eleven. In fact, each forgot to count himfelf. 
In the midft of their diflrefs — for they believed their companion to be 
drowned — a ftranger approached, and learnt the caufe of their forrow. 


236 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

Finding they were not to be convinced of their miflake by mere argument, 
he offered, on certain conditions, to find the loll Gothamite, and he 
proceeded as Follows. He took one by one each of the twelve Gothamites, 
ftruck him a hard blow on the fhoulder, which made him fcream, and at 
each cry counted one, two, three, &c. When it came to twelve, they 
were all fatisfied that the loft Gothamite had returned, and paid the man 
for the fervice he had rendered them. 

As a chap-book, this hiftory of the men of Gotham became fo popular, 
that it gave rife to a hoft of other books of limilar character, which were 
compiled at a later period under fuch titles — formerly well known to 
children — as, "The Merry Frolicks, or the Comical Cheats of Swalpo 5" 
"The Witty and Entertaining Exploits of George Buchanan, commonly 
called the King's Fool 5" "Simple Simon's Misfortunes 5" and the like. 
Nor muft it be forgotten that the hiftory of Eulenfpiegel was the proto- 
type of a clafs of popular hiftories of larger dimenfions, reprefented in our 
own literature by " The Englifh Rogue," the work of Richard Head and 
Francis Kirkman, in the reign of Charles II., and various other "rogues" 
belonging to different countries, which appeared about that time, or not 
long afterwards. The earlieft of thefe books was " The Spanifh Rogue, 
or Life of Guzman de Alfarache," written in Spanifh by Mateo Aleman 
in the latter part of the fixteenth century. Curioufly enough, fome 
Englifhman, not knowing apparently that the hiftory of Eulenfpiegel had 
appeared in Englifh under the name of Owlglafs, took it into his head 
to introduce him among the family of rogues which had thus come 
into fafhion, and, in 1720, publifhed as "Made Englifh from the High 
Dutch," what he called "The German Rogue, or the Life and Merry 
Adventures, Cheats, Stratagems, and Contrivances of Tiel Eulefpiegle." 

The fifteenth century was the period during which mediaeval forms 
generally were changing into forms adapted to another ftate of fociety, 
and in which much of the popular literature which has been in vogue 
during modern times took its rife. In the fourteenth century, the fabliaux 
of the jougleurs were already taking what we may perhaps term a more 
literary form, and were reduced into profe narratives. This took place 
efpecially in Italy, where thefe profe tales were called novelle, implying 


in Literature and Art. 

2 37 

fome novelty in their character, a word which was transferred into the 
French language under the form of nouvelles, and was the origin of our 
modern Englifh novel, applied to a work of fiction. The Italian novelifts 
adopted the Eaftern plan of ftringing thefe ftories together on the flight 
framework of one general plot, in which are introduced caufes for telling 
them and perfons who tell them. Thus the Decameron of Boccaccio 
holds towards the fabliaux exactly the fame pofition as that of the 
"Arabian Nights" to the older Arabian tales. The Italian novelifts 
became numerous and celebrated throughout Europe, from the time of 
Boccaccio to that of Straparola, at the commencement of the Iixteenth 
century, and later. The tafle for this clafs of literature appears to have 
been introduced into France at the court of Burgundy, where, under 
duke Philippe le Bon, a well-known courtier and man of letters named 
Antoine de La Sale, who had, during a fojourn in Italy, become 
acquainted with one of the moft celebrated of the earlier Italian collections, 
the "Cento Novello," or the Hundred Novels, compiled a collection in 
French, in imitation of them, under the title of "Les Cent Nouvelles 
Nouvelles," or the Hundred new Novels, one of the pureft examples of the 
French language in the fifteenth century.- The later French ftory-books, 
fuch as the Heptameron of the queen of Navarre, and others, belong chiefly 
to the Iixteenth century. Thefe collections of ftories can hardly be faid 
to have ever taken root in this ifland as a part of Englifh literature. 

But there arofe partly out of thefe ftories a clafs of books which 
became greatly multiplied, and were, during a long period, extremely 
popular. With the houfehold fool, or jefter, inftead of the old jougleur, 
the ftories had been fhorn of their detail, and fank into the fhape of mere 
witty anecdotes, and at the fame time a tafte arofe for what we now clafs 
under the general term of jefts, clever fayings, what the French call Ions 
mots, and what the Englifh of the fixteenth century termed " quick 


* I am obliged to pass over this part of the subject very rapidly. For the 
history of that remarkable book, the " Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, 1 '' I would refer 
the reader to the preface to my own edition, " Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, 
publiees d'apres le seul manuscrit connu, avec Introduction et Notes, par M. Thomas 
Wright.' 1 z vols, nmo., Paris, 1858. 

238 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

anfwers." The word jeji itfelf arofe from the circumftance that the things 
defignated by it arofe out of the older ftories, for it is a mere corruption 
of gefles, the Latin gejla, in the fenfe of narratives of acts or deeds, or 
tales. The Latin writers, who firft began to colled them into books, 
included them under the general name of facetice. The earlier of thefe 
collections of facetiae were written in Latin, and of the origin of the firft 
with which we are acquainted, that by the celebrated fcholar Poggio of 
Florence, a curious anecdote is told. Some wits of the court of pope 
Martin V., elected to the papacy in 141 7, among whom were the pope's two 
fecretaries, Poggio and Antonio Lufco, Cincio of Rome, and Ruzello of 
Bologna, appropriated to themfelves a private corner in the Vatican, where 
they aflembled to chat freely among themfelves. They called it their 
huggiale, a word which fignifies in Italian, a place of recreation, where they 
tell flories, make jefts, and amufe themfelves with difcufling fatirically the 
doings and characters of everybody. This was the way in which Poggio 
and his friends entertained themfelves in their buggiale, and we are allured 
that in their talk they neither fpared the church nor the pope himfelf or 
his government. The facetiae of Poggio, in fact, which are faid to be a 
felection of the good things faid in thefe meetings, fhow neither reverence 
for the church of Rome nor refpect for decency, but they are moftly ftories 
which had been told over and over again, long before Poggio came into 
the world. It was perhaps this fatire upon the church and upon the 
ecclefiaftics which gave much of their popularity to thefe facetiae at a time 
when a univerfal agitation of men's minds on religious affairs prevailed, 
which was the great harbinger of the Reformation ; and the next Latin 
books of facetiae came from men fuch as Henry Bebelius, who were zealous 
reformers themfelves. 

Many of the jefts in thefe Latin collections are put into the mouths of 
jefters, or domeflic fools, fatui, or moriones, as they are called in the Latin ; 
and in England, where thefe jeft-books in the vernacular tongue became 
more popular perhaps than in any other country, many of them were 
publifhed under the names of celebrated jefters, as the " Merie Tales of 
Skelton," "The Jefts of Scogin," "Tarlton's Jefts," and " The Jefts of 
George Peele." 


in Literature and Art. 239 

John Skelton, poet-laureat of his time, appears to have been known in 
the courts of Henry VII. and Henry VIII. quite as much in the character 
of a jefler as in that of a poet. Poet-laureat was then a title or degree 
given in the umverfity of Oxford. His " Merye Tales " are all perfonal of 
himfelf, and we fhould be inclined to fay that his jefts and his poetry are 
equally bad. The former picture him as holding a place fomewhere 
between Eulenfpiegel and the ordinary court-fool. We may give as a 
fample of the beft of them the tale No. I. — 

" Hoiv Skelton came home late to Oxford from Ab'mgton. 
" Skelton was an Englysheman borne as Skogyn was, and hee was educated and 
broughte up in Oxfoorde, and there was he made a poete lauriat. And on a tyme 
he had ben at Abbington to make mery, wher that he had eate salte meates, and 
hee did com late home to Oxforde, and he did lye in an ine named the Tabere, 
whyche is now the Angell, and hee dyd drynke, and went to bed. About mid- 
night he was so thyrstie or drye that he was constrained to call to the tapster for 
drynke, and the tapster harde him not. Then hee cryed to hys oste and hys ostes, 
and to the ostler, for drinke, and no man would here hym. Alacke, sayd Skelton, 
I shall peryshe for lacke of drynke ! What reamedye r At the last he dyd crie 
out and sayd, Fyer, fyer, fyer ! When Skelton hard every man bustle hymselfe 
upward, and some of them were naked, and some were halfe asleepe and amased, 
and Skelton dyd crye, Fier, tier ! styll, that everye man knewe not whether to 
resorte. Skelton did go to bed, and the oste and ostis, and the tapster, with the 
ostler, dyd runne to Skeltons chamber with candles lyghted in theyr handes, saying, 
Where, where, where is the fyer ? Here, here, here, said Skelton, and poynted hys 
fynger to hys mouth, saying, Fetch me some drynke to quenche the fyer and the 
heate and the drinesse in my mouthe. And so they dyd.'" 

Another of thefe " Merye Tales " of Skelton contains a fatire upon 
the pra&ice which prevailed in the fixteenth and early part of the 
feventeenth centuries of obtaining letters-patent of monopoly from the 
crown, and alfo on the bibulous propenfities of Wellhmen — 

" Hoiv the Welshman dyd desyre Skelton to ayde hym in hys sute to the kynge for a patent 

to sell drynke. 
" Skelton, when he was in London, went to the kynges courte, where there did 
come to hym a Welshman, saying, Syr, it is so, that manye dooth come upp of my 
country to the kynges court, and some doth get of the kyng by patent a castell, and 
some a parke, and some a forest, and some one fee and some another, and they dooe 
lyve lyke honest men ; and I shoulde lyve as honestly as the best, if I myght have 
a patyne for good dryncke, wherefore I dooe praye yow to write a fewe woords tor 
mee in a lytle byll to geve the same to the kvnges handes, and I wil geve you well 


240 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

for your laboure. I am contented, sayde Skelton. Syt downe then, sayde the Welsh- 
man, and write. What shall I wryte ? sayde Skelton. The Welshman sayde wryte 
dryncke. Nowe, sayde the Welshman, write more dryncke. What now? sayde Skelton. 
Wryte nowe, a great deale of dryncke. Nowe, sayd the Welshman, putte to all thys 
dryncke a littell crome ofbreade, and a great deale of drynke to it, and reade once agayne. 
Skelton d\'d reade, Dryncke, more dryncke, and a great deale of dryncke, and a lytle crome of 
breade, and a great deale of dryncke to it. Than the Welshman sayde, Put oute the litle 
crome of breade, and sette in, all dryncke and no hreade. And if I myght have thys sygned 
of the kynge, sayde the Welshman, I care for no more, as longe as I dooe lyve. 
Well then, sayde Skelton, when you have thys signed of the kyng, then wyll I 
labour for a patent to have bread, that you wyth your drynke and I with the bread 
may fare well, and seeke our livinge with bagge and stafFe.' 1 

Thefe two tales are rather favourable fpecimens of the collection 
publilhed under the name of Skelton, which, as far as we know, was firfl 
printed about the middle of the fixteenth century. The collection of the 
jefts of Scogan, or, as he was popularly called, Scogin, which is faid to 
have been compiled by Andrew Borde, was probably given to the world 
a few years before, but no copies of the earlier editions are now known 
to exift. Scogan, the hero of thefe jefts, is defcribed as occupying at the 
court of Henry VII. a pofition not much different from that of an ordinary 
court-fool. Good old Holinfhed the chronicler fays of him, perhaps a 
little too gently, that he was "a learned gentleman and ftudent for a 
time in Oxford, of a pleafant wit, and bent to merrie devices, in refpect 
whereof he was called into the court, where, giving himfelfe to his na- 
turall inclination of mirth and pleafant paftime, he plaied manie fporting 
parts, although not in fuch uncivil manner as hath beene of him reported." 
This allufion refers moft probably to the jefts, which reprefent him as lead- 
ing a life of low and coarfe buffoonery, in the courfe of which he difplayed 
a confiderable fhare of the difhoneft and mifchievous qualities of the lefs 
real Eulenfpiegel. He is even reprefented as perfonally infulting the king 
and queen, and as being confequently banifhed over the Channel, to ihow 
no more refpect to the majefty of the king of France. Scogin's jefts, like 
Skelton's, confift in a great meafure of thofe practical jokes which appear 
in all former ages to have been the delight of the Teutonic race. Many 
of them are directed ags-'tift the ignorance and worldlinefs of the clergy. 
Scogin is defcribed as being at one time himfelf a teacher in the univerfity, 


in Literature and Art. 241 

and on one occafion, we are told, a hufbandman fent his fon to fchool to 
him that he might be made a prieft. The whole ftory, which runs through 
feveral chapters, is an excellent caricature on the way in which men 
vulgarly ignorant were intruded into the priefthood before the Refor- 
mation. At length, after much blundering, the fcholar came to be 
ordained, and his examination is reported as follows : — 

" Hoiv the scholler said Tom Miller of Oseney ivas J 'acob' 's father \ 

"After this, the said scholler did come to the next orders, and brought a pre- 
sent to the ordinary from Scogin, but the scholler's father paid for all. Then said 
the ordinary to the scholler, I must needes oppose you, and for master Scogin's sake, 
I will oppose you in a light matter. Isaac had two sons, Esau and Jacob. Who 
was Jacob's father ? The scholler stood still, and could not tell. Well, said the 
ordinary, I cannot admit you to be priest untill the next orders, and then bring me 
an answer. The scholler went home with a heavy heart, bearing a letter to 
master Scogin, how his scholler could not answer to this question : I^aac had two 
sons, Esau and Jacob j who was Jacob's father ? Scogin said to his scholler, Thou 
foole and asse-head ! Dost thou not know Tom Miller of Oseney ? Yes, said the 
scholler ! Then, said Scogin, thou knowest he had two sonnes, Tom and Jacke ; 
who is Jacke's father ? The scholler said, Tom Miller. Why, said Scogin, thou 
mightest have said that Isaac was Jacob's father. Then said Scogin, Thou shalt 
arise betime in the morning, and carry a letter to the ordinary, and I trust he will 
admit thee before the orders shall be given. The scholler rose up betime in the 
morning, and carried the letter to the ordinary. The ordinary said, For Master 
Scogin's sake I will oppose you no farther than I did yesterday. Isaac had two sons, 
Esau and Jacob ; who was Jacob's father ? Marry, said the scholler, I can tell 
you now that was Tom Miller of Oseney. Goe, foole, goe, said the ordinary, and 
let thy master send thee no more to me for orders, for it is impossible to make a 
foole a wise man." 

Scogin \s fcholar was, however, made a prieft, and fome of the ftories 
which follow defcribe the ludicrous manner in which he exercifed the 
priefthood. Two other ftories illuftrate Scogin's fuppofed pofition at 
court : — 

" Hoiv Scogin told those that mocked him that he had a ivall-eye, 

" Scogin went up and down in the king's hall, and his hosen hung downe, and 
his coat stood awry, and his hat stood a boonjour, so every man did mocke Scogin. 
Some said he was a proper man, and did wear his rayment cleanly ; some said the 
foole could not put on his owne rayment ; some said one thing, and some said 
another. At last Scogin said, Masters, you have praised me wel, but you did not 

1 1 espy 

242 Hz/lory of Caricature and Grotefq 


espy one thing in me. What is that, Tom ? said the men. Marry, said Scogin, I have 
a wall eye. What meanest thou by that ? said the men. Marry, said Scogin, I 
have spyed a sort of knaves that doe mocke me, and are worse fooles themselves." 

" Hoiv Scogin drew his sonne up and doivne the court. 
" After this Scogin went from the court, and put off his foole's garments, and 
came to the court like an honest man, and brought his son to the court with him, 
and within the court he drew his sonne up and downe by the heeles. The boy 
cried out, and Scogin drew the boy in every corner. At last every body had pity 
on the boy, and said, Sir, what doe you meane, to draw the boy about the court ? 
Masters, said Scogin, he is my sonne, and I doe it for this cause. Every man doth 
say, that man or child which is drawne up in the court shall be the better as long 
as hee lives ; and therefore I will every day once draw him up and downe the 
court, after that hee may come to preferment in the end. 1 ' 

The appreciation of a good joke cannot at this time have been very 
great or very general, for Scogin's jells were wonderfully popular during 
at leaft a century, from the firft half of the fixteenth century. They palled 
through many editions, and are frequently alluded to by the writers of the 
Elizabethan age. The next individual whofe name appears at the head 
of a collection of his jells, was the well-known wit, Richard Tarlton, who 
may be fairly confidered as court fool to Queen Elizabeth. His jells 
belong to the fame clafs as thofe of Skelton and Scogin, and if polfible, they 
prefent a llill greater amount of dulnefs. Tarlton's jells were foon followed 
by the " merrie conceited jells " of George Peele, the dramatilt, who is 
defcribed in the title as "gentleman, fometimes lludent in Oxford 5" and 
it is added that in thefe jells " is fhewed the courfe of his life, how he 
lived -, a man very well knowne in the city of London and elfewhere.'' 
In fact, Peele's jells are chiefly curious for the linking picture they give 
us of the wilder fhades of town life under the reigns of Elizabeth and 
James I. 

During the period which witnelTed the publication in England of 
thefe books, many other jell-books appeared, for they had already 
become an important clafs of Englilh popular literature. Moll of 
them were publilhed anonymoully, and indeed they are mere com- 
pilations from the older colleclions in Latin and French. All that 
was at all good, even in the jells of Skelton, Scogin, Tarlton, and 
Peele, had been repeated over and over again by the llory-tellers and 

je tiers 

in Literature and Art. 243 

jefters of former ages. Two of the earlier Engliih collections have 
gained a greater celebrity than the reft, chiefly through adventitious 
circumftances. One of thefe, entitled "A Hundred Merry Tales," 
has gained diftinction among Shakespearian critics as the one efpecially 
alluded to by the great poet in u Much Ado about Nothing," (Act ii., 
Sc. 1), where Beatrice complains that fomebody had laid "that I had 
my good wit out of the Hundred Merry Tales." The other collection 
alluded to was entitled (f Mery Tales, Wittie Queftions, and Quicke 
Anfweres, very pleafant to be readde," and was printed in 1567. Its 
modern fame appears to have arifen chiefly from the circumftance that, 
until the accidental difcovery of the unique and imperfect copy of the 
" Hundred Merry Tales," it was fuppofed to be the book alluded to by 
Shakefpeare. Both thefe collections are mere compilations from the 
" Cent Xouvelles Nouvelles," Poggio," " Straparola," and other foreign 
works.* The words put into the mouth of Beatrice are correctly defcrip- 
tive of the ufe made of thefe jell-books. It had become fafhionable to 
learn out of them jelts and itories, in order to introduce them into 
polite converfation, and efpecially at table 3 and this practice continued to 
prevail until a very recent period. The number of fuch jell-books pub- 
limed during the tixteenth, fcventeeth, and eighteenth centuries, was 
quite extraordinary. Many of thefe were given anonymouflv ■. but many 
alio were put forth under names which polTelTed temporary celebrity, fuch 
as Hobfon the carrier, Killigrew the jefter, the friend of Charles II., Ben 
Jonibn, Garrick, and a multitude of others. It is, perhaps, unnecelTary 
to remind the reader that the great modern reprefentative of this clals of 
literature is the illuftrious Joe Miller. 

* A neat and useful edition of these two jest-books, with the other most curious 
books of the same class, published during the Elizabethan period, has recently been 
published in two volumes, by Mr. W. C. Hazlitt. 

244 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotejque 







THE reign of Folly did not pafs away with the fifteenth century — on 
the whole the fixteenth century can hardly be faid to have been 
more fane than its predeceffor, but it was agitated by a long and fierce 
firuggle to difengage European fociety from the trammels of the middle 
ages. We have entered upon what is technically termed the renaijfance, 
and are approaching the great religious reformation. The period during 
which the art of printing began firrt to fpread generally over Weftern 
Europe, was peculiarly favourable to the production of fatirical books and 
pamphlets, and a confiderable number of clever and fpirited fatirifts and 
comic writers appeared towards the end of the fifteenth century, efpecially 
in Germany, where circumftances of a political character had at an early 
period given to the intellectual agitation a more permanent ftrength than 
it could eafily or quickly gain in the great monarchies. Among the more 
remarkable of thefe fatirifts was Thomas Murner, who was born at 
Strafburg, in 1475. The circumnances even of his childhood are 
nngular, for he was born a cripple, or became one in his earlieft infancy, 
though he was fubfequently healed, and it was fo univerfally believed 
that this malady was the effect of witchcraft, that he himfelf wrote after- 
wards a treatife upon this fubjeci under the title of " De Phitonico 
Contractu." The fchool in which he was taught may at leatt have 
encouraged his fatirical fpirit, for his matter was Jacob Locher, the fame 
who tranilated into Latin verfe the " Ship of Fools " of Sebaftian Brandt. 


in Literature ana Art. 

2 45 

A.t the end of the century Murner had become a mafter of arts in the 
Univerfity of Paris, and had entered the Francifcan order. His reputa- 
tion as a German popular poet was fo great, that the emperor Maxi- 
milian I., who died in 1519, conferred upon him the crown of poetry, or, 
in other words, made him poet-laureat. He took the degree of doctor 
in theology in 1509. Still Murner was known bell as the popular writer, 
and he publimed feveral fatirical poems, which were remarkable for the 
bold woodcuts that illuftrated them, for engraving on wood nourilhed at 
this period. He expofed the corruptions of all claries of fociety, and, 
before the Reformation broke out, he did not even fpare the corruptions 
of the ecclefiaftical ftate, but foon declared himfelf a fierce opponent of 
the Reformers. When the Lutheran revolt againft the Papacy became 
ftrong, our king, Henry VIII., who took a decided part againft Luther, 
invited Murner to England, and on his return to his own country, the 
fatiric Francifcan became more bitter againft the Reformation than ever. 
He advocated the caufe of the Engliiri monarch in a pamphlet, now very 
rare, in which he difcufTed the queftion whether Henry VIII. or Luther 
was the liar — " Antwort dem Murner ufF feine frag, ob der kiinig von 
Engllant ein Liigner fey oder Martin us Luther." Murner appears to 
have divided the people of his age into rogues and fools, or perhaps he 
considered the two titles as identical. His " Narrenbefchwerung," or 
Confpiracy of Fools, in which Brandt's idea was followed up, is fuppofed 
to have been publitned as early as 1506, but the firft printed edition with 
a date, appeared in 1512. It became fo popular, that it went through 
feveral editions during fubfequent years; and that which I have before 
me was printed at Straiburg in 1518. It is, like Brandt's "Ship of 
Fools," a general fatire againft fociety, in which the clergy are not 
fpared, for the writer had not yet come in face of Luther's Reformation. 
The cuts are fuperior to thole of Brandt's book, and fome of them are 
remarkable for their delign and execution. In one of the earlieft of them, 
copied in the cut No. 139, Folly is introduced in the garb of a huiband- 
man, fcattering his feed over the earth, the refill t of which is a very 
quick and nourithing crop, the fool's heads riling above ground, almoft 
mftantaneoufly, like fo many turnips. In a fubfequent engraving, repre- 


246 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

fented in our cut No. 140, Folly holds out, as an object of emulation, the 
fool's cap, and people of all claries, the pope himfelf, and the emperor, 
and all the great dignitaries of this world, prefs forward eagerly to feize 
upon it. 

The fame year (1^12) witneffed the appearance of another poetical, 
or at leaft metrical, fatire by Murner, entitled " Schelmenzunft," or the 
Confraternity of Rogues, fimilarly illuftrated with very fpirited engravings 

Solving a Fruitful Crop. 

on wood. It is another demonftration of the prevailing dominion of 
folly under its worft forms, and the fatire is equally general with the 
preceding. Murner's fatire appears to have been felt not only generally, 
but perfonallyj and we are told that he was often threatened with affaffi- 
nation, and he raifed up a number of literary opponents, who treated him 
with no little rudenefs 5 in fact, he had got on the wrong fide of politics, 
or at all events on the unpopular fide, and men who had more talents 
and greater weight appeared as his opponents — men like Ulrich von 
Utten, and Luther himfelf. 

Among the fatirifts who efpoufed the caufe to which Murner was 
oppoled, we mull not overlook a man who reprefented in its flrongeft 


in Literature and At 


features, though in a rather debafed form, the old fpontaneous poetry of 
the middle ages. His name was Hans Sachs, at leaft that was the name 
under which he was known, for his real name is faid to have been 
Loutrdorffer. His fpirit was entirely that of the old wandering minftrel, 
and it was fo powerful in him, that, having been apprenticed to the craft 
of a weaver, he was no fooner freed from his indentures, than he took to 
a vagabond life, and wandered from town to town, gaining his living by 

No. 140. An Acceptable Offering. 

ringing the verfes he compofed upon every occafion which prefented itfelf. 
In 15 19, he married and fettled in Nuremberg, and his compofitions 
were then given to the public through the prefs. The number of thefe 
was quite extraordinary — fongs, ballads, fatires, and dramatic pieces, rude 
in fiyle, in accordance with the tafte of the time, but full of clevernefs. 
Many of them were printed on broadfides, and illuftrated with large 
engravings on wood. Hans Sachs joined in the crufade againft the 
empire of Folly, and one of his broadfides is illuftrated with a graceful 
defign, the greater part of which is copied in our cut No. 141. A party 
of ladies have fet a bird-trap to catch the fools of the age, who are 


48 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

waiting to be caught. One fool is taken in the trap, while another is 
already fecured and pinioned, and others are rufhing into the fnare. A 
number of people of the world, high in their dignities and flations, are 
looking on at this remarkable fcene. 

No. 141. Bird-Trap. 

The evil influence of the female fex was at this time proverbial, and, 
in fad, it was an age of extreme licentioufnefs. Another poet-laureat of 
the time, Henricus Bebelius, born in the latter half of the fifteenth 
century, and rather well known in the literature of his time, publifhed, 
in 15 15, a fatirical poem in Latin, under the title of "Triumphus Veneris, 1 ' 
which was a fort of expofition of the generally licentious chara&er of the 
age in which he lived. It is diftributed into fix books, in the third of 
which the poet attacks the whole ecclefiaftical ft ate, not fparing the pope 
himfelf, and we are thereby perfectly well initiated into the weaknefles 
of the clergy. Bebelius had been preceded by another writer on this part 
of the fubjea, and we might fay by many, for the incontinence of monks 


and nuns, and indeed of all the clergy, had long been a fubject of fatire. 
But the writer to whom I efpecially allude was named Paulus Olearius, 
his name in German being Oelfchlagel. He published, about the year 
1500, a fatirical tract, under the title of "De Fide Concubinarum in 
Sacerdotes." It was a bitter attack on the licentioufnefs of the clergy, 
and was rendered more effective by the engravings which accompanied it. 
We give one of thefe as a curious picture of contemporary manners j the 

individual who comes within the range of the lady's attractions, though 
he may be a fcholar, has none of the characterises of a prieft. She 
prefents a nofegay, which we may fuppofe to reprefent the influence of 
perfume upon the fenfes ; but the love of the ladies for pet animals is 
efpecially typified in the monkey, attached by a chain. A donkey appears 
to fhow by his heels his contempt for the lover. 

From an early period, the Roman church had been accuftomed to 
treat contemptuoufly, as well as cruelly, all who diffented from its doctrines, 
or objected to its government, and this feeling was continued down to the 
age of the Reformation, in fpite of the tone of liberalifm which was beginning 

k k to 

250 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

to iliine forth in the writings of fome of its greateft ornaments. Some 
refearch among the dully, becaufe little ufed, records of national archives 
and libraries would no doubt bring to light more than one lingular cari- 
cature upon the " heretics " of the middle ages, and my attention has 

been called to one which is porTerTed 
of peculiar intereft. There is, among 
the imperial archives of France, in 
Paris, among records relating to the 
country of the Albigeois in the thir- 
teenth century, a copy of the bull of 
pope Innocent IV. giving directions 
for the proceedings againft diffenters 
from Romanifm, on the back of which 
the fcribe, as a mark of his contempt 
for thele arch -heretics of the fouth, 
has drawn a caricature of a woman 
bound to a flake over the lire which is 
to burn her as an open opponent of 
the church of Rome. The choice of 
a woman for the victim was perhaps intended to Ihow that the profe- 
lytifm of herefy was efpecially fuccefsful among the weaker fex, or that 
it was conlidered as having fome relation to witchcraft. It is, by a long 
period, the earlieft known pictorial reprefentation of the punilhment of 
burning inflicted on a heretic. 

The Ihafts of fatire were early employed againll Luther and his new 
principles, and men like Murner, already mentioned, Emfer, Cochlaeus, 
and others, lignalifed themfelves by their zeal in the papal caufe. As 
already ftated, Murner diftinguilhed himfelf as the literary ally of our 
king Henry VIII. The tafle for fatirical writings had then become fo 
general, that Murner complains in one of his satires that the printers 
would print nothing but abufive or fatirical works, and neglected his more 
ferious writings. 

No. 143. Burning a Heretic 

Dafindt die trucker jchuld daran^ 

Die trucken ah die Gauchcreien^ 

Und lajfen niein ernjlliche backer leihen. 


in Literature and Art. 

z 5 l 

No. 1 44. Folly in Monajiic Habit. 

Some of Murner's writings againlt Luther, mod of which are now very- 
rare, are extremely violent, and they are generally illuftrated with fatirical 
woodcuts. One of thefe books, printed 
without name of place or date, is 
entitled, " Of the great Lutheran Fool, 
how Doctor Murner has exorcifed him " 
{Von dem grojfen Luther ijfc hen Narren, 
wie in Do6ior Murner hefchworen hat). 
In the woodcuts to this book Murner 
himfelf is introduced, as is ufually the 
cafe in thefe fatirical engravings, under 
the character of a Francifcan friar, 
with the head of a cat, while Luther 
appears as a fat and jolly monk, wear- 
ing a fool's cap, and figuring in various 
ridiculous circumflances. In one of the 
firft woodcuts, the cat Francifcan is 
drawing a rope so tight round the great Lutheran fool's neck, that he 
compels him to difgorge a multitude of fmaller fools. In another 
the great Lutheran fool has his purfe, or pouch, full of little fools 
fufpended at his girdle. This latter figure is copied in the cut No. 144, as 
an example of the form under which the great reformer appears in thefe 
fatirical reprefentations. 

In a few other caricatures of this period which have been preferved, 
the apoftle of the Reformation is attacked ftill more favagely. The one 
here given (Fig. 145), taken from a contemporary engraving on wood, 
prefents a rather fantaftic figure of the demon playing on the bagpipes. 
The inftrument is formed of Luther's head, the pipe through which the 
devil blows entering his ear, and that through which the mufic is 
produced forming an elongation of the reformer's nofe. It was a broad 
intimation that Luther was a mere tool of the evil one, created for the 
purpofe of bringing mifchief into the world. 

The reformers, however, were more than a match for their opponents 
in this fort of warfare. Luther himfelf was full of comic and fatiric 


252 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefaue 

humour, and a mafs of the talent of that age was ranged on his fide, both 
literary and artiflic. After the reformer's marriage, the papal party- 
quoted the old legend, that Antichrifl was to be born of the union of 
a monk and a nun, and it was intimated that if Luther himfelf could 
not be directly identified with Antichrifl, he had, at leaft, a fair 
chance of becoming his parent. But the reformers had refolved, on what 
appeared to be much more conclufive evidence, that Antichrifl was 

No. 145. The Mujic of the Demon. 

only emblematical of the papacy, that under this form he had been long 
dominant on earth, and that the end of his reign was then approaching. 
A remarkable pamphlet, defigned to place this idea pictorially before the 
public, was produced from the pencil of Luther's friend, the celebrated 
painter, Lucas Cranach, and appeared in the year 1521 under the title of 
"The Paffionale of Chrifl and Antichrifl" {Paffional Chrijii und Anti- 
chrifti). It is a fmall quarto, each page of which is nearly filled by a 
woodcut, having a few lines of explanation in German below. The cut 


in Literature and Art. 

2 53 

to the left reprefents fome incident in the life of Chrift, while that facing 
it to the right gives a contrafting fact in the hiftory of papal tyranny. 
Thus the firft cut on the left reprefents Jefus in His humility, refufing 
earthly dignities and power, while on the adjoining page we fee the pope, 
with his cardinals and biihops, fupported by his hofts of warriors, his 
cannon, and his fortifications, in his temporal dominion over fecular 

No. 146. The Dejcent of the Pope. 

princes. When we open again we fee on one fide Chrift crowned with 
thorns by the infulting foldiery, and on the other the pope, enthroned in 
all his worldly glory, exacting the worfhip of his courtiers. On another 
we have Chrift warning the feet of His difciples, and in contrail the pope 
compelling the emperor to kifs his toe. And fo on, through a number oi 
curious illuftrations, until at laft we come to Chart's afcenfion into heaven, 

254 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

in contraft with which a troop of demons, of the raoft varied and lingular 
forms, have feized upon the papal Antichrifl, and are calling him down 
into the flames of hell, where fome of his own monks wait to receive 
him. This laft picture is drawn with fo much fpirit, that I have copied 
it in the cut No. 146. 

The monftrous figures of animals which had amufed the fculptors and 
miniaturifls of an earlier period came in time to be looked upon as 

realities, and were not only regarded with 
wonder as phyfical deformities, but were 
objects of fuperftition, for they were believed 
to be fent into the world as warnings of 
great revolutions and calamities. During 
the age preceding the Reformation, the 
reports of the births or difcoveries of fuch 
monflers were very common, and engravings 
of them were no doubt profitable articles of 
merchandife among the early book-hawkers, 
Two of thefe were very celebrated in the 
time of the Reformation, the Pope-afs and 
the Monk-calf, and were publifhed and re- 
published with an explanation under the 
names of Luther and Melancthon, which 
made them emblematical of the Papacy and 
of the abufes of the Romifh church, and, of 
courfe, prognostications of their approaching 
expoiure and fall. It was pretended that 
the Pope-afs was found dead in the river Tiber, at Rome, in the year 
1496. It is reprefented in our cut No. 147, taken from an engraving pre- 
ferved in a very curious volume of broadfide Lutheran caricatures, in the 
library of the Britifh Mufeum, all belonging to the year 1545, though this 
defign had been publifhed many years before. The head of an afs, we are 
told, reprefented the pope himfelf, with his falfe and carnal doctrines. 
The right hand refembled the foot of an elephant, fignifying the fpiritual 
power of the pope, which was heavy, and (lamped down and crufhed 


No. 147. The Pope-afs. 

in Literature and Art. 

2 55 

people's confciences. The left hand was that of a man, fignifying the 
worldly power of the pope, which grafped at univerfal empire over kings 
and princes. The right foot was that of an ox, fignifying the fpiritual 
minifters of the papacy, the doctors of the church, the preachers, con- 
feflbrs, and fcholaftic theologians, and efpecially the monks and nuns, 
thofe who aided and fupported the pope in opprefling people's bodies 
and fouls. The left foot was that of a griffin, an animal which, when it 
once feizes its prey, never lets it efcape, and fignified the canonifts, the 
monfters of the pope's temporal power, who 
grafped people's temporal goods, and never 
returned them. The breaft and belly of 
this monfter were thofe of a woman, and 
fignified the papal body, the cardinals, bif- 
hops, priefts, monks, &c, who fpent their 
lives in eating, drinking, and incontinence ; 
and this part of the body was naked, becaufe 
the popifh clergy were not afhamed to ex- 
pofe their vices to the public. The legs, 
arms, and neck, on the contrary, were clothed 
with fifties' fcalesj thefe fignified the tem- 
poral princes and lords, who were moftly in 
alliance with the papacy. The old man's 
head behind the monfter, meant that the 
papacy had become old, and was approaching its end 5 and the head of 
a dragon, vomiting flames, which ferved for a tail, was fignificative of the 
great threats, the venomous horrible bulls and blafphemous writings, 
which the pontiff and his minifters, enraged at feeing their end approach, 
were launching into the world againfl all who oppofed them. Thefe 
explanations were fupported by apt quotations from the Scriptures, and 
were fo effective, and became fo popular, that the picture was publifhed 
in various fhapes, and was feen adorning the walls of the humbleft cottages. 
I believe it is ftill to be met with in a fimilar pofition in fome parts of 
Germany. It was confidered at the time to be a maflerly piece of fatire. 
The picture of the Monk-calf, which is reprefented in our cut No. 148, 

The Monk-Calf. 

was publifhed at the fame time, and ufually accompanies it. This monfter 
is faid to have been born at Freyburg, in Mifnia, and is fimply a rather 
coarfe emblem of the monachal character. 

The volume of caricatures juft mentioned contains feveral fatires on 
the pope, which are all very fevere, and many of them clever. One has 
a movable leaf, which covers the upper part of the picture ; when it is 
down, we have a reprefentation of the pope in his ceremonial robes, and 

No. 149. The Head of the Papacy. 

over it the infcription ALEX . VI . PONT . MAX. Pope Alexander VI. 
was the infamous Roderic Borgia, a man ftained with all the crimes and 
vices which flrike moll horror into men's minds. When the leaf is raifed, 
another figure joins itfelf with the lower part of the former, and reprefents 
a papal demon, crowned, the crofs being transformed into an instrument 
of infernal punifhment. This figure is reprefented in our cut No. 149. 


in Literature and Art. 


Above it are infcribed the words EGO . SVM . PAPA, " I am the Pope." 
Attached to it is a page of explanation in German, in which the legend 
of that pope's death is given, a legend that his wicked life appeared fufficient 
to fanction. It was faid that, diitrufting the fuccefs of his intrigues to fecure 
the papacy for himfelf, he applied himfelf to the fludy of the black art. 
and fold himfelf to the Evil One. He then afked the tempter if it were 
his deftiny to be pope, and received an anfwer in the affirmative. He 
next inquired how long he lhould hold the papacy, but Satan returned an 
equivocal and deceptive anfwer, for Borgia underftood that he was to be 
pope fifteen years, whereas he died at the end of eleven. It is well 
known that Pope Alexander VI. died fuddenly and unexpectedly through 
accidentally drinking the poifoned wine he had prepared with his own 
hand for the murder of another man. 

An Italian theatine wrote a poem againft the Reformation, in which 
he made Luther the offspring of Megaera, one of the furies, who is 
reprefented as having been lent from 
hell into Germany to be delivered of 
him. This farcafm was thrown back 
upon the pope with much greater effect 
by the Lutheran caricaturifts. One of the 
plates in the above-mentioned volume 
reprefents the " birth and origin of the 
pope" (ortus et origo papce), making 
the pope identical with Antichrift. In 
different groups, in this rather elaborate 
defign, the child is reprefented as at- 
tended by the three furies, Megaera act- 
ing as his wet-nurfe, Alecto as nurfery-maid, and Trfiphone in another 
capacity, &c. The name of Martin Luther is added to this caricature 

Hie ivird geborn der Widerchriji, 
Megera Jein Seugamme iji ; 
Aie&o jein Keindermeidlin s 
Tiftphone die gengelt in. — M. Luth., P. 1545. 

No 150 

One of the groups in this plate, reprefeiitinj 

the fury, Megaera, a 
becomii g 


Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

becoming fofter-mother, fucklim 
No. 150. 

No. 151. The Pope giving the Tune 

alone can pipe and touch the notes correctly." 

the pope-infant, is given in our cut, 

In another of thefe caricatures 
the pope is reprefented trampling on 
the emperor, to fhow the manner in 
which he ulurped and tyrannifed 
over the temporal power. Another 
illuftrates " the kingdom of Satan and 
the Pope " {regnum Satance et Papce), 
and the latter is reprefented as pre- 
fiding over hell-mouth in all his ftate. 
One, given in our cut No. [51, repre- 
fents the pope under the form of an 
afs playing on the bagpipes, and is 
entitled Papa doFtor theologies et ma- 
gi/ter Jidei. Four lines of German 
verfe beneath the engraving ftate how 
" the pope can alone expound Scrip- 
ture and purge error, juft as the afs 

Der Bapft kan allein aujlegen 

Die Schrifft, und irthum ausfegen ; 

JVie der ejel allein pfeiffen 

Kan, und die not en recht greiffen. — 1545. 

This was the laft year of Luther's active labours. At the commence- 
ment of the year following he died at Eiflleben, whither he had gone to 
attend the council of princes. Thefe caricatures may perhaps be con- 
fidered as fo many proclamations of fatisfaction and exultation in the final 
triumph of the great reformer. 

Books, pamphlets, and prints of this kind were multiplied to an extra- 
ordinary degree during the age of the Reformation, but the majority of 
them were in the intereft of the new movement. Luther's opponent, 
Eckius, complained of the infinite number of people who gained their 


in Literature and Art. 259 

living by wandering over all parts of Germany, and felling Lutheran 
books.* Among thofe who adminiftered largely to this circulation of 
polemic books was the poet of farces, comedies, and ballads, Hans Sachs, 
already mentioned. Hans Sachs had in one poem, publifhed in 1535, 
celebrated Luther under the title of " the Wittemberg Nightingale :" — 

Die Wittembergljch' Nacktigall, 
Die man jet-zt horet iiberall ; 

and defcribed the effects of his fong over all the other animals ; and he 
publifhed, alfo in verfe, what he called a Monument, or Lament, on his 
death ("Ein Denkmal oder Klagred' ob der Leiche Doktors Martin 
Luther"). Among the numerous broadfides publiihed by Hans Sachs, 
one contains the very clever carcarure of which we give a copy in our 
cut No. 152. It is entitled " Dv„r gut Hirt und bbfs Hirt," the good 
fhepherd and bad ihepherd, and has for its text the opening verfes of the 
tenth chapter of the gofpel of St. John. The good and bad fhepherds 
are, as may be fuppofed, Chrift and the pope. The church is here 
pictured as a not very ftately building ; the entrance, efpecially, is a plain 
ftructure of timber. Jefus laid to the Phanfees, " He that entereth not 
by the door into the fheepfold, but climbeth up fome other way, the fame 
is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the 
ihepherd of the flock." In the engraving, the pope, as the hireling 
fhepherd, fits on the roof of the flatelieft part of the building, pointing 
out to the Chriftian flock the wrong way, and blemng the climbers. 
Under him two men of worldly diftinction are making their way into 
the church through a window ; and on a roof below a friar is pointing 
to the people the way up. At another window a monk holds out his 
arms to invite people up ; and one in fpectacles, no doubt emblematical 
of the doctors of the church, is looking out from an opening over the 
entrance door to watch the proceedings of the Good Shepherd. To the 
righ t 

* " Infinitus jam erat numerus qui vlctum ex Lutheranis libris quaeritantes, in 
speciem bibliopolarum longe lateque per Germaniae provincias vagabantur." — 
Eck., p. 58. 

260 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

right, on the papal fide of the church, the lords and great men are 
bringing the people under their influence, till they are flopped by the 

cardinals and bimops, who prevent them from going forward to the door 
and point out very energetically the way up the roof At the door ftands, 


in Literature and Art, 


the Saviour, as the good fhepherd, who has knocked, and the porter has 
opened it with his key. ChrifVs true teachers, the evangelifts, fhow the 
way to the folitary man of worth who comes by this road, and who liftens 
with calm attention to the gofpel teachers, while he opens his purfe to 
beftow his charity on the poor man by the road tide. In the original 
engraving, in the diftance on the left, the Good Shepherd is feen followed 
by his flock, who are obedient to his voice ; on the right, the bad fhep- 
herd, who has oftentatioufly drawn up his fheep round the image of the 
crofs, is abandoning them, and taking to flight on the approach of the 
wolf. " He that entereth in by the door is the fhepherd of the fheep. 
To him the porter openeth ; and the fheep hear his voice, and he calleth 
his own lheep by name, and leadeth them out. 
And when he putteth forth his own fheep he 
goeth before them, and the fheep follow him, 
for they know his voice. . . . But he that is an 
hireling, and not the Ihepherd, whofe own the 
fheep are not, feeth the wolf coming, and 
leaveth the fheep, and fleeth 3 and the wolf 
catcheth them, and fcattereth the fheep." 
(John x. 2 — 4, 12.) 

The triumph of Luther is the iubject of a 
rather large and elaborate caricature, which is 
an engraving of great rarity, but a copy of it 
is given in Jaime's " MuCe de Caricature." 
Leo X. is reprefented feated on his throne upon 
the edge of the abyfs, into which his cardinals 

Murner and Luther""* 

are trying to prevent his falling ; but their No. 

efforts are rendered vain by the appearance 
of Luther on the other fide iupported by his principal adherents, and 
wielding the Bible as his weapon, and the pope is overthrown, in fpite of 
the fupport he receives from a vaft hofl of popifh clergy, do&ors, &c. 

The popifh writers againft Luther charged him with vices for which 
there was probably no foundation, and invented the moft fcandalous flories 
againft him. They accufed him, among other things, of drunkennefs and 

licentioufnefs ; 

licentioufnefs ; and there may, perhaps, be fome alluvion to the latter 
charge in our cut No. 153, which is taken from one of the comic illuftra- 
tions to Murner's book, "Von dem groffen Lutherifchen Narren," which 
was publiihed in 1522 ; but, at all events, it will ferve as a fpecimen of 
thefe illuftrations, and of Murner's fancy of reprefenting himfelf with the 
head of a cat. In 1525, Luther married a nun who had turned Proteftant 
and quitted her convent, named Catherine de Bora, and this became the 
fignal to his opponents for indulging in abufive longs, and fatires, and 
caricatures, moft of them too coarfe and indelicate to be defcribed in thefe 
pages. In many of the caricatures made on this occafion, which are 
ufually woodcut illuftrations to books written againft the reformer, Luther 
is reprefente.d dancing with Catherine de Bora, or fitting at table with a 
glafs in his hand. An engraving of this kind, which forms one of the 
illuftrations to a work by Dr. Konrad Wimpina, one of the reformer's 
violent opponents, reprefents Luther's marriage. It is divided into three 
compartments ; to the left, Luther, whom the Catholics always repre- 
fented in the character of a monk, gives the marriage ring to Catherine 
de Bora, and above them, in a sort of aureole, is infcribed the word 
Vovete ; on the right appears the nuptial bed, with the curtains drawn, 
and the infcription Reddite ; and in the middle the monk and nun are 
dancing joyoufly together, and over their heads we read the words — 

Difcedat ab aris 
Cut tultt hejierna gaud'ia nofte Venus. 

While Luther was heroically righting the great right of reform in 
Germany, the foundation of religious reform was laid in France by John 
Calvin, a man equally fincere and zealous in the caufe, but of a totally 
different temper, and he efpoufed docVmes and forms of church govern- 
ment which a Lutheran would not admit. Literary fatire was ufed with 
great effect by the French Calvinilts againft their popiih opponents, but 
they have left us few caricatures or burlcique engravings of any kind ; at 
leaft, very few belonging to the earlier period of their hiftory. Jaime, in 
his " Mufee de Caricature," has given a copy of a very rare plate, repre- 
fenting the pope ftruggling with Luther and Calvin, as his two aflailants. 


in Literature and Art. 


Both are tearing the pope"s hair, but it is Calvin who is here armed with 
the Bible, with which he is ftriking at Luther, who is pulling him by the 
beard The pope has his hand-, upon their heads. This (bene takes 

No. 1 54. Luther and Cak 

place in the choir of a church, but I give here (cut Xo. 154) only the 
group of the three combatants, intended to reprefent how the two great 

opponents to papal corruptions were hoitile at the fame time to each 

264 Hifi or y of Caricature and Grot ef que 






THERE is ftill another branch of literature which, however it may 
have been modified, has defcended to us from the middle ages. It 
has been remarked more than on^e in the courfe of this book, that the 
theatre of the Romans perifhed in the transition from the empire to the 
middle ages 3 but fomething in the {hape of theatrical performances 
appears to be infeparable from fociety even in its motl barbarous tiate, 
and we foon trace among the peoples who had fettled upon the ruins of 
the empire of Rome an approach towards a drama. It is worthy of 
remark, too, that the mediaeval drama originated exactly in the fame wav 
as that of ancient Greece, that is, from religious ceremonies. 

Such was the ignorance of the ancient ftage in the middle ages, that 
the meaning of the word comtedia was not underflood. The Anglo-Saxon 
glofTaries interpret the word by racu, a narrative, efpecially an epic 
recital, and this was the fenfe in which it was generally taken until late 
in the fourteenth or the fifteenth century. It is the fenfe in which it is 
ufed in the title of Dante's great poem, the " Divina Commedia." 
When the mediaeval fcholars became acquainted in manufcripts with the 
comedies of Terence, they confidered them only as fine examples of a 
particular fort of literary compofition, as metrical narratives in dialogue, 
and in this feeling they began to imitate them. One of the firft of thefe 


in Literature and Art. 265 

mediaeval imitators was a lady. There lived in the tenth century a 
maiden of Saxony, named Hrotfvitha — a rather unfortunate name for one 
of her fex, for it means fimply "a. loud noife of voices/' or, as (he explains 
it herfelf, in her Latin, clamor validus. Hrotfvitha, as was common enough 
among the ladies of thofe days, had received a very learned education, 
and her Latin is very refpectable. About the middle of the tenth century, 
ihe became a nun in the very ariltocratic Benedictine abbey of Gandef- 
heim, in Saxony, the abbenes of which were all princeiTes, and which 
had been founded only a century before. She wrote in Latin verfe a 
lhort hiftory of that religious houfe, but lhe is beft known by feven pieces, 
which are called comedies {comcedice), and which confift fimply of legends 
of faints, told dialogue-wife, fome in verfe and fome in profe. As may 
be fuppofed, there is not much of real comedy in thefe compofitions, 
although one of them, the Dulcitius, is treated in a ftyle which 
approaches that of farce. It is the ftory of the martyrdom of the three 
virgin faints — Agape, Chione, and Irene — who excite the lull of the per- 
fecutor Dulcitius ; and it may be remarked, that in this " comedy," and 
in that of Callimachus and one or two of the others, the lady Hrotfvitha 
difplays a knowledge of love-making and of the language of love, which 
was hardly to be expected from a holy nun.* 

Hrotfvitha, in her preface, complains that, in fpite of the general love 
for the reading of the Scriptures, and contempt for everything derived 
from ancient paganifm, people ftill too often read the " fictions "' of Terence, 
and thus, feduced by the beauties of his ftyle, foiled their minds with the 
'knowledge of the criminal acts which are defcribed in his writings. A 
rather early manufcript has preferred a very curious fragment illuftrative 

* Several editions of the writings of Hrotsvitha, texts and translations, have 
been published of late years both in Germany and in France, of which I may point 
out the following as most useful and complete — " Theatre de Hrotsvitha, Reliojeuse 
Allemande du x e siecle. . . . par Charles Magnin," 8vo„, Paris, 1845 ; " Hrotsvithae 
Gandeshemensis, virginis et moniaiis Germanicae, gente Saxonica ortae, Comoe- 
dias sex, ad fidem codicis Emmeranensis typis expressas edidit. ... J. Benedixen," 
i6mo.. Lubecae, 1857 ; "Die Werke der Hrotsvitha : Herau^gegeben von Dr. K. 
A. Barack," 8vo., Niirnberg, 1858. 

M M 

266 Hijiory of Caricature a?id Grotejoue 

of the manner in which the comedies of the Romans were regarded by 
one clafs of people in the middle ages, and it has alio a further meaning. 
Its form is that of a dialogue in Latin verfe between Terence and a per- 
fonage called in the original delufor, which was no doubt intended to exprefs 
a performer of ibme kind, and may be probably confidered as fynonymous 
with jougleur. It is a contention between the new jouglerie of the 
middle ages and the old jouglerie of the fchools, fomewhat in the fame 
ftyle as the fabliau of " Les deux Troveors Ribauz," defcribed in a former 
chapter.* We are to fuppofe that the name of Terence has been in fome 
way or other brought forward in laudatory terms, upon which the jougleur 
Heps forward from among the fpedtators and expreiTes himfelf towards the 
Roman writer very contemptuoufly. Terence then makes his appearance 
to fpeak in his own defence, and the two go on abufing one another in 
no very meafured language. Terence alks his aifailant who he is ? to 
which the other replies, "If you afk who I am, I reply, I am better than 
thee. Thou art old and broken with years ; I am a tyro, full of vigour, 
and in the force of youth. You are but a barren trunk, while I am a 
good and fertile tree. If you hold your tongue, old fellow, it will be 
much better for you." 

Si rogitas qui s f urn, refpondeo : te melior fum. 
Tu vetus atque fenex ; ego tyro, valens, adulejcens. 
Tu Jierilis tr uncus ; ego fertilis arbor, opimus. 
Si taceas, o -vetule, lucrum tibi quceris enorme. 

Terence replies: — "What fenfe have you left? Are you, think you, 
better than me ? Let me fee you, young as you are, compofe what I, 
however old and broken, will compofe. If you be a good tree, mow us 
fome proofs of your fertility. Although I may be a barren trunk, I 
produce abundance of better fruit than thine." 

£>uis tibi fenfus inejl ? numquid melior me es ? 
Nunc Vitus atque fenex quce fecero fac ado/efcens. 
Si bonus arbor ades, qua fertilitate redundas ? 
Cum Jim tr uncus iners, fruclu melior e redundo. 


And fo the difpute continues, but unfortunately the latter part has been 
J oft with a leaf or two of the manufcript. I will only add that I think 
the age of this curious piece has been overrated."* 

Hrotfvitha is the earlieft example we have of mediaeval writers in this 
particular clafs of literature. We find no other until the twelfth century, 
when two writers nourilhed named Vital of Blois (Vitalis Blefenfis) and 
Matthew of Vendome (Matthceus Vindodnenjis) , the authors of feveral of 
the mediaeval poems diftinguiibed by the title of comcedice, which give us 
a clearer and more diftinct idea of what was meant by the word. They are 
written in Latin Elegiac verfe, a form of compoiition which was very popular 
among the mediaeval fcholars. and conlift of ftories told in dialogue. Hence 
ProfefTor Ofann, of Gielfen, who edited two of thofe of Vital of Blois, gives 
them the title of eclogues (eclogce). The name comedy is, however, given 
to them in manufcripts, and it may perhaps admit of the following expla- 
nation. Thefe pieces feem to have been hrft mere abridgments of the 
plots of the Roman comedies, efpecially thofe of Plautus, and the authors 
appear to have taken the Latin title of the original as applied to 
the plot, in the fenfe of a narrative, and not to its dramatic form. Of 
the two " comedies " by Vital of Blois, one is entitled " Geta," and is taken 
from the iC Amphytrio " of Plautus, and the other, which in the manu- 
fcripts bears the title of " Querulus," reprefents the " Aulularia " of the 
fame writer. Independent of the form of compoiition, the fcnolaftic 
writer has given a ftrangely mediaeval turn to the incidents of the claflic 
ftory of Jupiter and Alcmena. Another limilar " comedy," that of Babio, 
which I nrit printed from the manufcripts, is ftill more mediaeval in 
character. Its plot, perhaps taken from a fabliau, for the mediaeval 
writers rarely invented ftories, is as follows, although it mult be confelfed 
that it comes out rather obfcurely in the dialogue itfelf. Babio, the hero 
of the piece, is a prieft, who, as was ftill common at that time (the 

* This singular composition was published with notes by M. de Montaiglon, in a 
Parisian journal entitled, " L' Amateur de LivreV 1 in i849 5 under the title or 
" Fragment d'un Dialogue Latin du ix e siecle entre Terence et un BoufFon/ 1 A 
few separate copies were printed, of which I possess one. 

268 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

twelfth century), has a wife, or, as the ftric~t. religionifts would then fay, a 
concubine, named Pecula. She has a daughter named Viola, with whom 
Babio is in love, and he purfues his defign upon her, of courfe unknown 
to his wife. Babio has alfo a man-fervant named Fodius, who is engaged 
in a fecret intrigue with his miflrefs, Pecula, and alfo feeks to feduce her 
daughter, Viola. To crown the whole, the lord of the manor, a knight 
named Croceus, is alfo in love with Viola, though with more honourable 
defigns. Here is furely intrigue enough and a fumcient abfence of morality 
to fatisfy a modern French novelift of the firft water. At the opening of 
the piece, amid fome by-play between the four individuals who form 
the houfehold of Babio, it is fuddenly announced that Croceus is on his 
way to vifit him, and a feaft is haftily prepared for his reception. It ends 
in the knight carrying away Viola by force. Babio, after a little vain 
blufter, confoles himfelf for the lofs of the damfel with reflections on the 
virtue of his wife, Pecula, and the faithfulnefs of his man, Fodius, when, 
at this moment, Fame carries to his ear reports which excite his fufpicions 
againft them. He adopts a ftratagem very frequently introduced in the 
mediaeval ftories, furprifes the two lovers under circumftances which leave 
no room for doubting their guilt, and then forgives them, enters a monaf- 
tery, and leaves them to themfelves. In form, thefe "comedies" are 
little more than fcholaftic exercifes ; but, at a later period, we mall fee 
the fame ftories adopted as the fubjects of farces.* 

Already, however, by the fide of thefe dramatic poems, a real drama 
— the drama of the middle ages — was gradually developing itfelf. As 
Hated before, it arofe, like the drama of the Greeks, out of the religious 
ceremonies. We know nothing of the exiftence of anything approaching 
to dramatic forms which may have exifted among the religious rites of 

* To judge by the number of copies found in manuscripts, especially of the 
" Geta," these dramatic poems must have enjoyed considerable popularity. The 
"Geta" and the " Querulus'"' were published in a volume entitled, " Vitalis Ble- 
sensis Amphitryon et Aulularia Eclogse. Edidit Fridericus Osannus, Professor 
Gisensis," 8vo., Darmstadt, 1836. The '* Geta " and the " Babio " are included 
in my " Early Mysteries, and other Latin Poems of the Twelfth and Thirteenth 

in Literature and Art. 269 

the peoples of the Teutonic race before their conversion to Christianity, 
but the Chriftian clergy felt the neceflity of keeping up feitive religious 
ceremonies in fome form or other, and alio of imprelling upon people's 
imagination and memory by means of rude fcenical reprefentations fome 
of the broader facts of fcriptural and ecclefiaflical hiftory. Thefe per- 
formances at firft confilted probably in mere dumb mow, or at the moft 
the performers may have chanted the fcriptural account of the tranfacfion 
they were reprefenting. In this manner the choral boys, or the younger 
clergy, would, on fome fpecial faint's day, perform fome Striking a6t in 
the life of the faint commemorated, or, on particular festivals of the 
church, thofe incidents of gofpel hiftory to which the feftival efpecially 
related. By degrees, a rather more impofing character was given to thefe 
performances by the addition of a continuous dialogue, which, however, 
was written in Latin verfe, and was no doubt chanted. This incipient 
drama in Latin, as far as we know it, belongs to the twelfth century, and 
is reprefented by a tolerably large number of examples Still preferved in 
mediaeval manufcripts. Some of the earlieft of thefe have for their author 
a pupil of the celebrated Abelard, named Hilarius, who lived in the firft 
half of the twelfth century, and is underflood to have been by birth 
an Englifhman. Hilarius appears before us as a playful Latin poet, 
and among a number of fhort pieces, which may be almolt called 
lyric, he has left us three of thefe religious plays. The fubjecl of the 
firft of thefe is the railing of Lazarus from the dead, the chief peculiarity 
of which connfts of the longs of lamentation placed in the mouths of 
the two lifters of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. The fecond reprefents 
one of the miracles attributed to St. Nicholas 3 and the third, the 
hiftory of Daniel. The latter is longer and more elaborate than the 
others, and at its conclusion, the ftage direction tells us that, if it were 
performed at matins, Darius, king of the Medes and Perlians, was to 
chant Te Deum Laudamus, but if it were at vefpers, the great king was 
to chant Magnificat anima mea Dominion.* 

* " Hilarii Versus et Ludi, 11 8vo., Paris, 1835. Edited by M. Champollion 

270 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

That this mediaeval drama was not derived from that of the Roman 
is evident from the circumftance that entirely new terms were applied to 
it. The weftern people in the middle ages had no words exactly equi- 
valent with the Latin comcedia, tragcedia, theatrum, &c. 3 and even the 
Latinifts, to defignate the dramatic pieces performed at the church 
feftivals, employed the word ludus, a play. The French called them by 
a word having exactly the fame meaning, jew (from jocus) . Similarly in 
Engliih they were termed plays. The Anglo-Saxon gloflaries prefent as 
the reprefentative of the Latin tkeatrum, the compounded words plege- 
stow, or pleg-stow, a play-place, and pleg-hus, a play-houfe. It is curious 
that we Englishmen have preferred to the prefent time the Anglo-Saxon 
words in play, player, and play-houfe. Another Anglo-Saxon word with 
exactly the fame fignification, lac, or gelac, play, appears to have been 
more in ufe in the dialect of the Northumbrians, and a Yorkfhireman 
ftill calls a play a lake, and a player a laker. So alfo the Germans called 
a dramatic performance afpil, i.e. a play, the modern fpiel, and a theatre, 
afpil-hus. One of the pieces of Hilarius is thus entitled " Ludus fuper 
iconia fancti Nicolai," and the French jeu and the Engliih play are 
conftantly ufed in the fame fenfe. But befides this general term, words 
gradually came into ufe to chara6terife different forts of plays. The 
church plays confifted of two defcriptions of fubjects, they either reprefented 
the miraculous a6ts of certain faints, which had a plain meaning, or 
fome incident taken from the Holy Scriptures, which was fuppofed to 
have a hidden myfterious fignification as well as an apparent one, and 
hence the one clafs of fubje6t was ufually fpoken of limply as miraculum, a 
miracle, and the other as myfterium, a myftery. Myjieries and miracle- 
plays are ftill the names ufually given to the old religious plays by writers 
on the hiftory of the ftage. 

We have a proof that the Latin religious plays, and the feftivities in 
which they were employed, had become greatly developed in the twelfth 
century, in the notice taken of them in the ecclefiaftical councils of that 
period, for they were difapproved by the ftrider church difciplinarians. 
So early as the papacy of Gregory VIII., the pope urged the clergy to 
"extirpate" from their churches theatrical plays, and other feftive 


in Literature and Art. 271 

practices which were not quite in harmony with the facred character of 
thefe buildings.* Such performances are forbidden by a council held at 
Treves in 1227^ We learn from the annals of the abbey of Corbei, 
publifhed by Leibnitz, that the younger monks at Herefburg performed 
on one occafion a " facred comedy" (sacram comoediam) of the felling 
into captivity and the exaltation of Jofeph, which was difapproved by 
the other heads of the order.:}: Such performances are included in a 
proclamation of the biihop of Worms, in 13 16, againfl the various abufes 
which had crept into the feftivities obferved in his diocefe at Eafter and 
St. John's tide.§ Similar prohibitions of the acting of fuch plays in 
churches are met with at fubfequent periods. 

While thefe performances were thus falling under the cenfure of the 
church authorities, they were taken up by the laity, and under their 
management both the plays and the machinery for acting them under- 
went considerable extension. The municipal guilds contained in their 
conflitution a considerable amount of religious fpirit. They were great 
benefactors of the churches in cities and municipal towns, and had ufually 
fome parts of the facred edifice appropriated to them, and they may, 
perhaps, have taken a part in thefe performances, while they were ftill 
confined to the church. Thefe guilds, and fubfequently the municipal 
corporations, took them entirely into their own hands. Certain annual 
religious feflivals, and efpecially the feaft of Corpus Chrifti, were flill 
the. occafions on which the plays were acted, but they were taken 
entirely from the churches, and the performances took place in the open 
flreets. Each guild had its particular play, and they acted on movable 
flages, which were dragged along the flreets in the proceflion of the 
guild. Thefe flages appear to have been rather complicated. They 


* " Interdum ludi fiunt in ecclesiis theatrales/'&c. — Decret.Gregorii t lib iii. tit. i. 

f " Item non permittant sacerdotes ludos theatrales fieri in ecclesia et alios ludos 

X " Juniores fratres in Heresburg sacram habuere comoediam de Josepho vendito 
et exaltato, quod vero reliqui ordinis nostri praelati male interpretati sunt." — Leibn., 
Script. Bruns-v., torn. ii. p. 31 1. 

§ The acts of this synod of Worms are printed in Harzheim, torn. iv.p. 258. 

272 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

were divided into three floors, that in the middle, which was the principal 
ftage, reprefenting this world, while the upper divifion reprefented heaven, 
and that at the bottom hell. The mediaeval writers in Latin called this 
machinery a pegma, from the Greek word Trrjyfia, a fcaffold; and they 
alfo applied to it, for a reafon which is not fo eafily feen, unlefs the one word 
arofe out of a corruption of the other, that of pagina, and from a further 
corruption of thefe came into the French and Englifh languages the word 
pageant, which originally fignified one of thefe movable ftages, though 
it has fince received fecondary meanings which have a much wider appli- 
cation. Each guild in a town had its pageant and its own a6tors, who 
performed in maiks and coftum'es, and each had one of a feries of plays, 
which were performed at places where they halted in the procefhon. 
The fubje6ts of thefe plays were taken from Scripture, and they ufually 
formed a regular feries of the principal hiftories of the Old and New 
Teftaments. For this reafon they were generally termed myfteries, a 
title already explained ; and among the few feries of thefe plays ftill 
preferved, we have the " Coventry Myfteries," which were performed by 
the guilds of that town, the " Chefter Myfteries," belonging to the guilds 
in the city of Chefter, and the " Towneley Myfteries," fo called from the 
name of the pofteflbr of the manufcript, but which probably belonged to 
the guilds of Wakefield in Yorkfhire. 

During thefe changes in the method of performance, the plays them- 
felves had alfo been confiderably modified. The fimple Latin phrafes, 
even when in rhyme, which formed the dialogue of the earlier ludi — as 
in the four miracles of St. Nicholas, and the fix Latin myfteries taken 
from the New Teftament, printed in my volume of " Early Myfteries 
and other Latin Poems " — muft have been very uninterefting to the mafs 
of the fpectators, and an attempt was made to enliven them by intro- 
ducing among the Latin phrafes popular proverbs, or even fometimes a 
fong in the vulgar tongue. Thus in the play of " Lazarus " by Hilarius, 
the Latin of the lamentations of his two filters is intermixed with French 
verfes. Such is the cafe alfo with the play of " St. Nicholas " by the fame 
writer, as well as with the curious myftery of the Foolifh Virgins, printed 
in my " Early Myfteries " juft alluded to, in which latter the Latin is 


in Literature and Art, 273 

intermingled with Provencal verfe. A much greater advance was made 
when thefe performances were transferred to the guilds. The Latin was 
then difcarded altogether, and the whole play was written in French, or 
English, or German, as the cafe might be, the plot was made more 
elaborate, and the dialogue greatly extended. But now that the whole 
institution had become fecularifed, the want of fomething to amufe 
people — to make them laugh, as people liked to laugh in the middle 
ages — was felt more than ever, and this want was Supplied by the intro- 
duction of droll and ludicrous fcenes, which are often very Slightly, if at 
all, connected with the fubject of the play. In one of the earlieSl of the 
French plays, that of " St. Nicholas," by Jean Bodel, the characters who 
form the burlefque fcene are a party of gamblers in a tavern. In others, 
robbers, or peafants, or beggars form the comic fcene, or vulgar women. 
or any perfonages who could be introduced acting vulgarly anduSing coarfe 
language, for thefe were great incitements to mirth among the populace. 
In the Engliih plays now remaining, thefe fcenes are, on the whole, 
lefs frequent, and they are ufually more clofely connected with the 
general fubject. The earlieft EngliSh collection that has been publitned is 
that known as the " Towneley MySteries," the manufcript of which belongs 
to the fifteenth century, and the plays themfelves may have been compofed 
in the latter part of the fourteenth. It contains thirty-two plays, begin- 
ning with the Creation, and ending with the Afcenfion and the Day of 
Judgment, with two fupplementary plays, the " Railing of Lazarus " and 
the " Hanging of Judas." The play of " Cain and Abel " is throughout a 
vulgar drollery, in which Cain, who exhibits the character of a blultering 
ruffian, is accompanied by a garcio, or lad, who is the very type of a 
vulgar and infolent horfe-boy, and the converfation of thefe two worthies 
reminds us a little of that between the clown and his mafter in the open- 
air performances of the old wandering mountebanks. Even the death of 
Abel by the hand of his brother is performed in a manner calculated to 
provoke great laughter. In the old mirthful Spirit, to hear two perfons load 
each other with vulgar abufe, was as good as feeing them grin through a 
horfe-collar, if not better. Hence the droll fcene in the play of " Noah " 
is a domettic quarrel between Noah and his wife, who was proverbially 

n n a ihrew, 

2J4 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

a fhrew, and here gives a tolerable example of abufive language, as it 
might then come from a woman's tongue. The quarrel arifes out of her 
obftinate refufal to go into the ark. In the New Teftament feries the play 
of " The Shepherds" was one of thofe moft fufceptible of this fort of em- 
bellifhment. There are two plays of the Shepherds in the " Towneley 
Myfteries," the nrfi of which is amufing enough, as it reprefents, in clever 
burlefque, the acts and converfation of a party of mediaeval fhepherds 
guarding their flocks at night; but the fecond play of the Shepherds 
is a much more remarkable example of a comic drama. The fhepherds 
are introduced at the opening of the piece converting very fatirically on 
the corruptions of the time, and complaining how the people were 
lmpoverifhed by over-taxation, to fupport the pride and vanity of the 
ariftocracy. After a good deal of very amufing talk, the fhepherds, who, 
as ufual, are three in number, agree to fing a fong, and it is this fong, it 
appears, which brings to them a fourth, named Mak, who proves to be a 
fheep-ftealer ; and, in fact, no fooner have the fhepherds refigned them- 
felves to fleep for the night, than Mak choofes one of the befT fheep in 
their flocks, and carries it home to his hut. Knowing that he will be 
fufpected of the theft, and that he will foon be purfued, he is anxious to 
conceal the plunder, and is only helped out of his difficulty by his wife, 
who fuggefts that the carcafe fhall be laid at the bottom of her cradle, 
and that fhe fhall lie upon it and groan, pretending to be in labour. 
Meanwhile the fhepherds awake, difcover the lofs of a fheep, and perceiv- 
ing that Mak has difappeared alfo, they naturally fufpect him to be the 
depredator, and purfue him. They find everything very cunningly pre- 
pared in the cottage to deceive them, but, after a large amount of round- 
about inquiry and refearch, and much drollery, they difcover that the boy 
of which Mak's wife pretends to have been juft delivered, is nothing elfe 
but the fheep which had been flolen from their flocks. The wife ftill 
afferts that it is her child, and Mak fets up as his defence that the baby 
had been "forfpoken," or enchanted, by an elf at midnight, and that it 
had thus been changed into the appearance of a fheep ; but the fhepherds 
refufe to be fatisfied with this explanation. The whole of this little 
comedy is carried out with great fkill, and with infinite drollery. The 



Literature and Art. 275 

fhepherds, while ftill wrangling with Mak and his wife, are feized with 
drowfinefs, and lie down to fleep ; but they are aroufed by the voice of 
the angel, who proclaims the birth of the Saviour. The next play in 
which the drollery is introduced, is that of " Herod and the Slaughter of 
the Innocents." Herod's blufler and bombafl, and the vulgar abufe 
which paffes between the Hebrew mothers and the foldiers who are 
murdering their children, are wonderfully laughable. The plays which 
represented the arrefl, trial, and execution of Jefus, are all full of drollery, 
for the grotefque character which had been given to the demons in the 
earlier middle ages, appears to have been transferred to the executioners 
or, as they were called, the " tormentors," and the language and manner 
in which they executed their duties, muft have kept the audience in a 
continual roar of laughter. In the play of " Doomfday," the fiends 
retained their old character, and the manner in which they joke over the 
diftrefs of the finful fouls, and the details they give of their finfulnefs, are 
equally mirth-provoking. The "Coventry Myfleries" are alfo printed 
from a manufcript of the middle of the fifteenth century, and are, 
perhaps, as old as the " Towneley Myfleries." They confifl of forty-two 
plays, but they contain, on the whole, fewer droll fcenes than thofe of 
the Towneley collection. But a very remarkable example is furnifhed in 
the play of the "Trial of Jofeph and Mary," which is a very grotefque 
picture of the proceedings in a mediaeval confiflory court. The fompnour, 
a character fo well known by Chaucer's picture of him, opens the piece 
by reading from his book a long lift of offenders againfl chaflity. At its 
conclufion, two "detractors " make their appearance, who repeat various 
fcandalous ilories againfl the Virgin Mary and her hufband Jofeph, which 
are overheard by fome of the high officers of the court, and Mary and 
Jofeph are formally accufed and placed upon their trial. The trial itfelf 
is a fcene of low ribaldry, which can only have afforded amufement to a 
very vulgar audience. There is a certain amount of the fame kind of 
indelicate drollery in the play of " The Woman taken in Adultery," in 
this collection. The " Chefler Myfleries " are flill more fparing of fuch 
fcenes, but they are printed from manufcripts written after the Reforma- 
tion, which had, perhaps, gone through the procefs of expurgation, in 


276 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

which fuch excrefcences had been lopped off. However, in the play of 
" Noah's Flood/' we have the old quarrel between Noah and his wife, 
which is carried fo far that the latter actually beats her hufband in the 
prefence of the audience. There is a little drollery in the play of " The 
Shepherds/' a conliderable amount of what may be called "Billingfgate " 
language in the play of the " Slaughter of the Innocents," but lefs than the 
ufual amount of infolence in the tormentors and demons.* It is probable, 
however, that thefe droll fcenes were not always confidered an integral 
part of the play in which they were introduced, but that they were kept as 
feparate fubje&s, to be introduced at will, and not always in the fame play, 
and therefore that they were not copied with the play in the manufcripts. 
In the Coventry play of " Noah's Flood," when Noah has received 
the directions from an angel for the building of the ark, he leaves the 
ftage to proceed to this important work. On his departure, Lamech 
comes forward, blind and led by a youth, who directs his hand to fhoot at 
a beaft concealed in a bum. Lamech moots, and kills Cain, upon which, 
in his anger, he beats the youth to death, and laments the misfortune into 
which the latter has led him. This was the legendary explanation of the 
paffage in the fourth chapter of Generis : " And Lamech faid 

1 have flain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt ; if 
Cain mall be avenged feven-fold, truly Lamech feventy and feven-fold." 
It is evident that this is a piece of fcriptural ftory which has nothing to 
do with Noah's flood, and accordingly, in the Coventry play, we are told 
in the ftage directions, that it was introduced in the place of the "inter- 
lude," f as if there were a place in the machinery of the pageant where 


* The editions of the three principal collections of English mysteries are — 

1. " The Towneley Mysteries," 8vo., London, 1836, published bytheSurtees Society. 

2. " Ludus Coventrise : a Collection of Mysteries, formerly represented at Coventry 
on the Feast of Corpus Christi/' edited by James Orchard Halliwell, Esq., 8vo., 
London, 1 841, published by the Shakespeare Society; 3. "The Chester Plays: a 
Collection of Mysteries founded upon Scriptural Subjects, and formerly represented 
by the Trades of Chester at Whitsuntide,"" edited by Thomas Wright, Esq., 

2 vols. 8vo., London, 1843 and 1847, published by the Shakespeare Society. 

t "Hie transit Noe cum familia sua pro navi,quo exeunte, locum interludii •ubintret 
statim Lameth, conductus ab adolescente, et dicens/' &c« 

in Literature and Art. 277 

the epifode, which was not an integral part of the fubje6t, was performed, 
and that this part of the performance was called an interlude, or play 
introduced in the interval of the action of the main fubject. The word 
interlude remained long in our language as applied to fuch fhort and 
fimple dramatic pieces as we mayfuppofe to have formed the drolleries of 
the myfteries. But they had another name in France which has had a 
greater and more lafling celebrity. In one of the early French miracle- 
plays, that of" St. Fiacre," an interlude of this kind is introduced, con- 
taining five perfonages — a brigand or robber, a peafant, a fergeant, and the 
wives of the two latter. The brigand, meeting the peafant on the highway, 
afks the way to St. Omer, and receives a clownifh anfwer, which is followed 
by one equally rude on a fecond queftion. The brigand, in revenge, Heals 
the peafant's capon, but the fergeant comes up at this moment and, 
attempting to arreft the thief, receives a blow from the latter which is 
fuppofed to break his right arm. The brigand thus efcapes, and the peafant 
and the fergeant quit the fcene, which is immediately occupied by their 
wives. The fergeant's wife is informed by the other of the injury 
fuftained by her hufband, and the exults over it becaufe it will deprive him 
of the power of beating her. They then proceed to a tavern, call for 
wine, and make merry, the converfation turning upon the faults of their 
refpective hulbands, who are not fpared. In the midft of their enjoy- 
ments, the two hulbands return, and mow, by beating their wives, that 
they are not very greatly difabled. In the manufcript of the miracle-play 
of" St. Fiacre," in which this amuiing epifode is introduced, a marginal 
ftage direction is expreffed in the following words, " cy eft interpofe une 
farjfe " (here a farce is introduced). This is one of the earlier! inftancesof 
the application of the term, farce to thefe fhort dramatic facetiae. Different 
opinions have been expreffed as to the origin of the word, but it feems 
moft probable that it is derived from an old French verb,farcer, to jell, to 
make merry, whence the modern word farceur for a joker, and that it 
thus means merely a drollery or merriment. 

I have jufl fuggefted as a reafon for the abfence of thefe interludes, or 
farces, in the myfteries as they are found in the manufcripts, that they 
were probably not looked upon as parts of the myfteries themfelves, but 


278 Hi /lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

as feparate pieces which might be ufed at pleafure. When we reach a 
certain period in their hiftory, we find that not only was this the cafe, but 
that thefe farces were performed feparately and altogether independently 
of the religious plays. It is in France that we find information which 
enables us to trace the gradual revolution in the mediaeval drama. A 
fociety was formed towards the clofe of the fourteenth century under 
the title of Confreres de la Pajfion, who, in 1398, eftablifhed a regular 
theatre at St. Maur-des-Foffes, and fubfequently obtained from Charles VI. 
a privilege to tranfport their theatre into Paris, and to perform in it 
myfteries and miracle-plays. They now rented of the monks of Hermieres 
a hall in the hofpital of the Trinity, outfide of the Porte St. Denis, per- 
forming there regularly on Sundays and faints' days, and probably making 
a good thing of it, for, during a long period, they enjoyed great popu- 
. larity. Gradually, however, this popularity was fo much diminished, that 
the confreres were obliged to have recourfe to expedients for reviving it. 
Meanwhile other fimilar focieties had arifen into importance. The clerks 
of the Bazoche, or lawyers' clerks of the Palais de Juftice, had thus affociated 
together, it is faid, as early as the beginning of the fourteenth century, 
and they diftinguifhed themfelves by compofing and performing farces, for 
which they appear to have obtained a privilege. Towards the clofe of 
the fourteenth century, there arofe in Paris another fociety, which took 
the name of Enfans fans fouci, or Carelefs Boys, who elected a prefident 
or chief with the title of Prince des Sots, or King of the Fools, and who 
compofed a fort of dramatic fatires which they called Sotties. Jealoufies 
foon arofe between thefe two focieties, either becaufe the fotties were 
made fometimes to refemble too clofely the farces, or becaufe each tref- 
pafled too often on the territories of the other. Their differences were 
finally arranged by a compromife, whereby the Bazochians yielded to their 
rivals the privilege of performing farces, and received in return the per- 
mimon to perform fotties. The Bazochians, too, had invented a new clafs 
of dramatic pieces which they called Moralities, and in which allegorical 
perfonages were introduced. Thus three dramatic focieties continued to 
exift in France through the fifteenth century, and until the middle of the 


in Literature and Art. 


Thefe various pieces, under the titles of farces, fotties, moralities, or 
whatever other names might be given to them, had become exceedingly 
popular at the beginning of the fixteenth century, and a very confiderable 
number of them were printed, and many of them are Itill preferved, but 
they are books of great rarity, and often unique.* Of thefe the farces form 
the molt numerous clafs. They confifi limply of the tales of the older 
jougleurs or ftory-tellers reprefented in a dramatic form, but they often 
difplay great fkill in conducting the plot, and a confiderable amount of 
wit. The flory of the iheep-ftealer in the Towneley play of "The Shep- 
herds," is a veritable farce. As in the fabliaux, the raoft common fubjects 
of thefe farces are love intrigues, carried on in a manner which fpeaks 
little for the morality of the age in which they. were written. Family 
quarrels frequently form the fubjecT: of a farce, and the weakneffes and 
vices of women. The priefts, as ufual, are not fpared, but are introduced 
as the feducers of wives and daughters. In one the wives have found a 
means of re-modelling their hufbands and making them young again, 
which they put in practice with various ludicrous circumftances. Tricks 
of fervants are alfo common fubjecls for thefe farces. One is the ftory of 
a boy who does not know his own father, and fome of the fubjects are of 
a flill more trivial character, as that of the boy who fteals a tart from the 
paftrycook's ihop. Two hungry boys, prowling about the flreets, come to 
the fhop door juft as the paflrycook is giving directions for fending an eel- 
pie after him. By an ingenious deception the boys gain pofTeffion of the 
pie and eat it, and they are both caught and feverely chaftifed. This is 
the whole plot of the farce. A dull fchoolboy examined by his matter in 
the prefence of his parents, and the mirth produced by his blunders and 


* The most remarkable collection of these early farce*, sotties, and moralities 
yet known, was found accidentally in 1845, and is now in the British Museum. 
These were all edited in Paris as the first three volumes of a work in ten, entitled 
" Ancien Theatre Francois, ou Collection des Ouvrages dramatiques les plus 
remarquable depuis les Mysteres jusqu'a Corneille, publie. . . . par M. Viollet le 
Due," i2mo., Paris, 1854. It is right to state that these three volumes were edited 
not by M. Viollet le Due, but by a scholar better known for his learning in the 
older French literature, M. Anatole de Montaiglon. 

their ignorance, formed alfo a favourite fubject among thefe farces. One 
or two examples are preferved, and, from a comparifon of them, we might 
be led to fufpect that Shakefpeare took the idea of the opening fcene in 
the fourth act of the " Merry Wives of Windfor " from one of thefe old 

The fotties and moralities were more imaginative and extravagant 
than the farces, and were filled with allegorical perfonages. The 
charatters introduced in the former have generally fome relation to the 
kingdom of folly. Thus, in one of the fotties, the king of fools (le roy des 
fot%) is reprefented as holding his court, and confulting with his courtiers, 
whofe names are Triboulet, Mitouflet, Sottinet, Coquibus, and Guippelin. 
Their converfation, as may be fuppofed, is of a fatirical character. 
Another is entitled "The Sottie of the Deceivers," or cheats. Sottie — 
another name for mother Folly — opens the piece with a proclamation 
or addrefs to fools of all defcriptions, fummoning them to her prefence. 
Two, named Tefte-Verte and Fine-Mine, obey the call, and they are 
queftioned as to their own condition, and their proceedings, but their con- 
verfation is interrupted by the fudden intrufion of another perfonage 
named Everyone (Chafcun), who, on examination, is found to be as 
perfect a fool as any of them. They accordingly fraternife, and join in a 
fong. Finally, another character, The Time (le Temps), joins them, and 
they agree to fubmit to his directions. Accordingly he inftrufts them in 
the arts of flattery and deceiving, and the other fimilar means by which 
men of that time fought to thrive. Another is the Sottie of Foolifh 
Oflentation (defolle bobance). This lady fimilarly opens the fcene with 
an addrefs to all the fools who hold allegiance to her, and three of thefe 
make their appearance. The flrfl fool is the gentleman, the fecond the 
merchant, the fourth the peafant, and their converfation is a fatire on 
contemporary fociety. The perfonification of abftract principles is far 
bolder. The three characters who compofe one of thefe moralities are 
Everything {tout), Nothing (rien), and Everyone (chafcun). How the 
perfonification of Nothing was to be reprefented, we are not told. The 
title of another of thefe moralities will be enough to give the reader a 
notion of their general title ; it is, " A New Morality of the Children of 


in Literature and Art. 2 8 i 

Now-a-Days (Maintenant) , who are the Scholars of Once-good (Jahieri), 
who ihows them how to play at Cards and at Dice, and to entertain 
Luxury, whereby one comes to Shame (Honte), and from Shame to 
Defpair (Defefpoir), and from Defpair to the gibbet of Perdition, and then 
turns himfelf to Good-doing." The characters in this play are Now-a- 
Days, Once-good, Luxury, Shame, Defpair, Perdition, and Good-doing. 

The three dramatic focieties which produced all thefe farces, fotties, 
and moralities, continued to flourifh in France until the middle of the 
fixteenth century, at which period a great revolution in dramatic litera- 
ture took place in that country. The performance of the Myfleries had 
been forbidden by authority, and the Bazochians themfelves were fup- 
preffed. The petty drama reprefented by the farces and fotties went 
rapidly out of fafhion, in the great change through which the mind of 
fociety was at this time palling, and in which the tafte for claffical 
literature overcame all others. The old drama in France had difap- 
peared, and a new one, formed entirely upon an imitation of the claffical 
drama, was beginning to take its place. This incipient drama was repre- 
fented in the fixteenth century by Etienne Jodel, by Jacques Grevin, 
by Remy Belleau, and efpeciaily by Pierre de Larivey, the moll prolific, 
and perhaps the molt talented, of the earlier French regular dramatic 

Thefe French dramatic effays, the farces, the fotties, and the morali- 
ties, were imitated, and fometimes tranflated, in Englilb, and many of 
them were printed ; for the further our refearcbes are carried into the 
early hiflory of printing, the more we are aftonifhed at the extreme 
activity of the prefs, even in its infancy, in multiplying literature of a 
popular character. In England, as in France, the farces had been, at a 
rather early period, detached from the myfleries and miracle -plays, but 
the word interludes had been adopted here as the general title for them, 
and continued in ufe even after the eftablifhment of the regular drama. 
Perhaps this name owed its popularity to the circumftance that it feemed 
more appropriate to its object, when it became fo fafhionable in England 
to act thefe plays at intervals in the great feflivals and entertainments 
given at court, or in the houfeholds of the great nobles. At all events, 

o o there 

there can be no doubt that this fafhion had a great influence on the fate 
of the Englifh flage. The cuftom of performing plays in the univerfities, 
great fchools, and inns of court, had alfo the effect of producing a number 
of very clever dramatic writers j for when this literature was fo warmly 
patronifed by princes and nobles, people of the higheft qualifications 
fought to excel in it. Hence we find from books of houfehold expenfes 
and fimilar records of the period, that there was, during the fixteenth 
century, an immenfe number of fuch plays compiled in England which 
were never printed, and of which, therefore, very few are preferved. 

The earlier!: known plays of this defcnption in the Englifh language 
belong to the clafs which were called in France moralities. They are 
three in number, and are preferved in a manufcript in the pofTeffion of 
Mr. Hudfon Gurney, which J have not feen, but which is faid to be of 
the reign of our king Henry VI. Several words and allufions in them 
feem to me to fhow that they were tranflated, or adapted, from the 
French. They contain exactly the fame kind of allegorical perfonages. 
The allegory itfelf is a limple one, and eafily underftood. In the firft, 
which is entitled the " Cattle of Perfeverance," the hero is Humanum 
Genus (Mankynd), for the names of the parts are all given in Latin. On 
the birth of this perfonage, a good and a bad angel offer themfelves as 
his protectors and guides, and he choofes the latter, who introduces him 
to Mundus (the World), and to his friends, Stultitia (Folly), and Vbluptas 
(Pleafure). Thefe and fome other perfonages bring him under the 
influence of the feven deadly fins, and Humanum Genus takes for his 
bedfellow a lady named Luocuria. At length ConfeJJio and Pcenitentia 
fucceed in reclaiming Humanum Genus, and they conduct him for fecurity 
to the Cattle of Perfeverance, where the feven cardinal virtues attend 
upon him. He is befieged in this caftle by the feven deadly fins, who 
are led to the attack by Belial, but are defeated. Humanum Genus has 
now become aged, and is expofed to the attacks of another affailant. 
This is Avaritia, who enters the Caflle Healthily by undermining the 
wall, and artfully perfuades Humanum Genus to leave it. He thus comes 
again under the influence of Mundus, until Mors (Death) arrives, and the 
bad angel carries off the victim to the domains of Satan. This, however, 

in Literature and Art. 283 

is not the end of the piece. God appears, feated on His throne, and 
Mercy, Peace, Juftice, and Truth appear before Him, the two former 
pleading for, and the latter againll, Humanum Genus, who, after fome 
difcuffion, is faved. This allegorical picture of human life was, in one 
form or other, a favourite fubject of the moralifers. I may quote as 
examples the interludes of " Lufiy Juventus," reprinted in Hawkins's 
"Origin of the Englifh Drama," and the " Difobedient Child," and 
" Trial of Treafure,'' reprinted by the Percy Society. 

The fecond of the moralities afcribed to the reign of Henry VI., has 
for its principal characters Mind, Will, and Underflanding. Thefe are 
afTailed by Lucifer, who fucceeds in alluring them to vice, and they 
change their modeft raiment for the drefs of gay gallants. Various other 
characters are introduced in a iimilar ftrain of allegory, until they are 
reclaimed by Wifdom. Mankind is again the principal perfonage of the 
third of thefe moralities, and fome of the other characters in the play, 
mch as Nought, New-guife, and Now-a-days, remind us of the limilar 
allegorical perfonages in the French moralities defcribed above. 

Thefe interludes bring us into acquaintance with a new comic character. 
The great part which folly acted in the focial deftinies of mankind, had 
become an acknowledged fact; and as the court and almoft every great 
houfehold had its profeiTed fool, fo it feems to have been considered that 
a play alio was incomplete without a fool. But, as the character of the 
fool was ufually given to one of the moll objectionable characters in it, 
fo, for this reafon apparently, the fool in a play was called the Vice. 
Thus, in " Lufly Juventus," the character of Hypocrify is called the Vice ; 
in the play of "All for Money," it is Sin; in that of " Tom Tyler and 
his Wife," it is Delire; in the "Trial of Treafure" it is Inclination 3 
and in fome instances the Vice appears to be the demon himfelf. The 
Vice feems always to have been dreffed in the ufual coflume of a court 
fool, and he perhaps had other duties befides his mere part in the plot, 
fuch as making jells of his own, and uling other means for provoking 
the mirth of the audience in the intervals of the action. 

A few of our early Englifh interludes were, in the ftrict fenfe of the 
word, farces. Such is the "mery play" of "John the Hufband, Tyb the 


Wife, and Sir John the Prieft," written by John Hey wood, the plot 
of which prefents the fame fimplicity as thofe of the farces which were 
fo popular in France. John has a fhrew for his wife, and has good caufes 
for fufpecting an undue intimacy between her and the prieft ; but they 
find means to blind his eyes, which is the more eafily done, becaufe he is 
a great coward, except when he is alone. Tyb, the wife, makes a pie, 
and propofes that the prieft (hall be invited to affift in eating it. The 
hufband is obliged, very unwillingly, to be the bearer of the invitation, 
and is not a little furprifed when the prieft refufes it. He gives as his 
reafon, that he was unwilling to intrude himfelf into company where he 
knew he was difliked, and perfuaded John that he had fallen under the 
wife's difpleafure, becaufe, in private interviews with her, he had laboured 
to induce her to bridle her temper, and treat her hufband with more gentle- 
nefs. John, delighted at the difcovery of the prieft's honefty, infifts on 
his going home with him to feaft upon the pie. There the guilty couple 
contrive to put the hufband to a difagreeable penance, while they eat 
the pie, and treat him otherwife very ignominioully, in confequence of 
which the married couple fight. The prieft interferes, and the fight thus 
becomes general, and is only ended by the departure of Tyb and the 
prieft, leaving the hufband alone. 

The popularity of the moralities in England is, perhaps, to be explained 
by peculiarities in the condition of fociety, and the greater pre-occupation 
of men's minds in our country at that time with the religious and focial 
revolution which was then in progrefs. The Reformers foon faw the ufe 
which might be made of the ftage, and compiled and caufed to be acted 
interludes in which the old doctrines and ceremonies were turned to 
ridicule, and the new ones were held up in a favourable light. We have 
excellent examples of the fuccefs with which this plan was carried out in 
the plays of the celebrated John Bale. His play of " Kyng Johan," an 
edition of which was publifhed by the Camden Society, is not only a 
remarkable work of a very remarkable man, but it may be confidered as 
the firft rude model of the Englifh hiftorical drama. The ftage became 
now a political inftrument in England, almoft as it had been in ancient 
Greece, and it thus became frequently the object of particular as well as 


in Liter at ure and Art, 285 

general perfecution. In 1543, the vicar of Yoxford, in Suffolk, drew 
upon himfelf the violent hoflility of the other clergy in that county by 
compofing and caufing to be performed plays againit the pope's counsellors. 
Six years afterwards, in 1549, a royal proclamation prohibited for a time 
the performance of interludes throughout the kingdom, on the ground 
that they contained " matter tendyng to fedicion and contempnyng of 
fundery good orders and lawes, whereupon are growen daily, and are likely 
to growe, muche difquiet, divifion, tumultes, and uproares in this realme." 
From this time forward we begin to meet with laws for the regulation of 
flage performances, and proceedings in cafes of fuppofed infractions of 
them, and it became cufromary to obtain the approval of a play by the 
privy council before it was allowed to be a6led. Thus gradually arofe the 
office of a dramatic cenfor. 

With Bale and with John Heywood, the Englifh plays began to 
approach the form of a regular drama, and the two now rather celebrated 
pieces, " Ralph Roifter Doiiler," and " Gammer Gurton's Needle," 
which belong to the middle of the fixteenth century, may be coniidered 
as comedies rather than as interludes. The brmer, written by a well- 
known fcholar of that time, Nicholas Udall, mailer of Eton, is a 
fatirical picture of fome phafes of London life, and relates the ridiculous 
adventures of a weak-headed and vain-glorious gallant, who believes 
that all the women mull be in love with him, and who is led by a needv 
and defigning parafite named Matthew Merygreeke. Rude as it is as 
a dramatic compofition, it difplays no lack of talent, and it is full 
of genuine humour. The humour in " Gammer Gurton's Needle " is 
none the lefs rich becaule it is of coarfer and rather broader carl. The 
good dame of the piece, Gammer Gurton, during an interruption in the 
procefs of mending the breeches of her hufband, Hodge, has loft her 
needle, and much lamentation follows a misfortune fo great at a time 
when needles appear to have been rare and valuable articles in the rural 
houfehold. In the midft of their trouble appears Diccon, who is defcribed 
in the dramatis per/once as (t Diccon the Bedlam," meaning that he was an 
idiot, and who appears to hold the pofition of Vice in the play. Diccon, 
however, though weak-minded, is a cunning fellow, and efpecially given 

286 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefaue 

to making mifchief, and he accufes a neighbour, Dame Chat, of flealing 
the needle. At the fame time, the fame mifchievous individual tells 
Dame Chat that Gammer Gurton's cock had been ftolen in the night from 
the henrooft, and that fhe, Dame Chat, was accufed of being the thief. 
Amid the general mifunderftanding which refults from Diccon's fuccefsful 
endeavours, they fend for the parfon of the parifh, Dr. Rat, who appears 
to unite in himfelf the three parts of preacher, phyiician, and conjurer, in 
order to have advantage of his experience in finding the needle. Diccon 
now contrives a new piece of mifchief. He perfuades Dame Chat that 
Hodge intends to hide himfelf in a certain hole in the premifes, in order, 
that night, to creep out and kill all her hens; and at the fame time he 
informs Dr. Rat, that if he will hide in the fame hole, he will give him 
ocular demonftration of Dame Chat's guilt of flealing the needle. The 
confequence is that Dame Chat attacks by furprife, and fomewhat 
violently, the fuppofed depredator in the hole, and that Dr. Rat gets a 
broken head. Dame Chat is brought before " Matter Bayly" for the 
aflault, and the proceedings in the trial bring to light the deceptions 
which have been played upon them all, and Diccon ftands convi&ed as 
the wicked perpetrator. In fad, the " bedlam " confeffes it all, and it is 
finally decided by " Matter Bayly that there fhall be a general recon- 
ciliation, and that Diccon fhall take a folemn oath on Hodge's breech, 
that he will do his befl to find the loft needle. Diccon has ftill the fpirit 
of mifchief in him, and inftead of laying his hand quietly on Hodge's 
breech, he gives him a iharp blow, which is refponded to by an unexpected 
fcream. The needle, indeed, which has never quitted the breeches, is 
driven rather deep into the flefhy part of Hodge's body, and the general 
joy at having found it again overruling all other confiderations, they 
all agree to be friends over a jug of " drink." 

We cannot but feel aftonifhed at the fhort period which it required 
to develop rude attempts at dramatic compofition like this into the 
wonderful creations of a Shakefpeare ; and it can only be explained by 
the fact that it was an age remarkable for producing men of extraordinary 
genius in every branch of intelle&ual development. Hitherto, the litera- 
ture of the ftage had reprefented the intelligence of the mafs; it became 


mdividualifed in Shakefpeare, and this fact marks an entirely new era in 
the hiftory of the drama. In the writings of our great bard, nearly all the 
peculiarities of the older national drama are preferred, even fome which may 
be perhaps considered as its defects,, but carried to a degree of perfection 
which they had never attained before. The drollery, which, as we have 
feen, could not be difpenfed with even in the religious myfleries and 
miracle-plays, had become fo necefTary, that it could not be difpenfed with 
in tragedy. Its omiffion belonged to a later period, when the foreign 
dramatifts became objects of imitation in England. But in the earlier 
drama, thefe fcenes of drollery feem frequently to have no connection 
whatever with the general plot, while Shakefpeare always interweaves 
them fkilfully with it, and they feem to form an integral and neceiTary 
part of it. 

288 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 







WE have feen how the popular demonology furnithed materials for 
the earlier! exercife of comic art in the middle ages, and how the 
tafte for this particular clafs of grotefque lafted until the clofe of the 
mediaeval period. After the " renaiffance " of art and literature, this 
tafte took a ftill more remarkable form, and the fchool of grotefque 
diablerie which flourifhed during the fixteenth century, and the nrft half 
oi the feventeenth, juftly claims a chapter to itfelf. 

The birthplace of this demonology, as far as it belongs to Chriflianity, 
muft probably be fought in the deferts of Egypt. It fpread thence over 
the eail and the weft, and when it reached our part of the world, it grafted 
itfelf, as I have remarked in a former chapter, on the exifting popular 
fuperftitions of Teutonic paganifm. The playfully burlefque, which held 
fo great a place in thefe fuperftitions, no doubt gave a more comic cha- 
racter to this Chriftian demonology than it had poflerTed before the mix- 
ture. Its primitive reprefentative was the Egyptian monk, St. Anthony, 
who is faid to have been born at a village called Coma, in Upper Egypt, 
in the year 251. His hiftory was written in Greek by St. Athanafius, 
and was tranflated into Latin by the eccleflaftical hiftorian Evagrius. 
Anthony was evidently a fanatical vifionary, fubject to mental illunons, 
which were foftered by his education. To efcape from the temptations 
of the world, he fold all his property, which was confiderable, gave it to 
the poor, and then retired into the defert of the Thebaid, to live a life of 


in Literature and Art. 281 

the ftricteft afceticifm. The evil one perfecuted him in his folitude, and 
fought to drive him back into the corruptions of worldly life. He firil 
tried to fill his mind with regretful reminifcences of his former wealth, 
pofition infociety, and enjoyments ; when this failed, he diilurbed his mind 
with voluptuous images and defires, which the faint refitted with equal 
fuccefs. The perfecutor now changed his tactics, and prefenting himfelf 
to Anthony in the form of a black and ugly youth, confeiTed to him, 
with apparent candour, that he was the fpirit of uncleannefs, and acknow- 
leged that he had been vanquished by the extraordinary merits of 
Anthony's fanctity. The faint, however, faw that this was only a 
ftratagem to ftir up in him the fpirit of pride and felf-confidence, and he 
met it by fubjecting himfelf to greater mortifications than ever, which of 
courfe made him ftill more liable to thefe delufions. Now he fought 
greater folitude by taking up his refidence in a ruined Egyptian fepulchre, 
but the farther he withdrew from the world, the more he became the 
object of diabolical perfecution. Satan broke in upon his privacy with a 
hoft of attendants, and during the night beat him to fuch a degree, that 
one morning the attendant who brought him food found him lying 
fenfelefs in his cell, and had him carried to the town, where his friends 
were on the point of burying him, believing him to be dead, when he 
fuddenly revived, and infifted on being taken back to his folitary dwelling. 
The legend tells us that the demons appeared to him in the forms of the 
molt ferocious animals, fuch as lions, bulls, wolves, afps, ferpents, fcorpions, 
panthers, and bears, each attacking him in the manner peculiar to its 
fpecies, and with its peculiar voice, thus making together a horrible din. 
Anthony left his tomb to retire farther into the defert, where he made a 
ruined cafile his refidence ; and here he was again frightfully perfecuted 
by the demons, and the noife they made was fo great and horrible that it 
was often heard at a vaft diftance. According to the narrative, Anthony 
reproached the demons in very abufive language, called them hard names, 
and even fpat in their faces ; but his mo ft effective weapon was always 
the crofs. Thus the faint became bolder, and fought a ftill more lonely 
abode, and finally eftablifhed himfelf on the top of a high mountain in 
the upper Thebaid. The demons ftill continued to perfecute him, under 

p p a great 

290 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

a great variety of forms 5 on one occafion their chief appeared to him 
under the form of a man, with the lower members of an afs. 

The demons which tormented St. Anthony became the general type 
for fubfequent creations, in which thefe firft pictures were gradually, and 
in the fequel, greatly improved upon. St. Anthony's perfecutors ufually 
afiumed the fhapes of bond fide animals, but thofe of later ftories took 
monftrous and grotefque forms, ftrange mixtures of the parts of different 
animals, and of others which never exifted. Such were feen by 
St. Guthlac, the St. Anthony of the Anglo-Saxons, among the wild 
morailes of Croyland. One night, which he was paffing at his devotions 
in his cell, they poured in upon him in great numbers 5 " and they filled 
all the houfe with their coming, and they poured in on every fide, from 
above and from beneath, and everywhere. They were in countenance 
horrible, and they had great heads, and a long neck, and lean vifage ; 
they were filthy and fqualid in their beards, and they had rough ears, and 
diftorted face, and fierce eyes, and foul mouths ; and their teeth were 
like horfes' tulks, and their throats were filled with flame, and they were 
grating in their voice ; they had crooked ftianks, and knees big and great 
behind, and diftorted toes, and fhrieked hoarfely with their voices ; and 
they came with fuch immoderate noifes and immenfe horror, that it 
feemed to him that all between heaven and earth refounded with their 
dreadful cries." On another fimilar occafion, " it happened one night, 
when the holy man Guthlac fell to his prayers, he heard the howling of 
cattle and various wild beafts. Not long after he faw the appearance 
of animals and wild beafts and creeping things coming in to him. Firft 
he faw the vifage of a lion that threatened him with his bloody tulks, 
alfo the likenefs of a bull, and the vifage of a bear, as when they are 
enraged. Alio he perceived the appearance of vipers, and a hog's 
grunting, and the howling of wolves, and croaking of ravens, and the 
various whiftlings of birds, that they might, with their fantaftic appear- 
ance, divert the mind of the holy man." 

Such were the fuggeftions on which the mediaeval fculptors and illumi- 
nators worked with fo much effect, as we have feen repeatedly in the courfe 
of our preceding chapters. After the revival of art in weftern Europe 

in Literature and Art. 291 

in the fifteenth century, this clafs of legends became great favourites with 
painters and engravers, and foon gave rife to the peculiar fchool of 
diablerie mentioned above. At that time the ftory of the Temptation of 
St. Anthony attracted particular attention, and it is the fubje<5t of many 
remarkable prints belonging to the earlier ages of the art of engraving. 
It employed the pencils of fuch artifts as Martin Schongauer, Ifrael van 
Mechen, and Lucas Cranach. Of the latter we have two different 
engravings on the fame fubje6t — St. Anthony carried into the air by the 
demons, who are reprefented in a great variety of grotefque and monftrous 
forms. The moil remarkable of the two bears the date of 1506, and was, 
therefore, one of Cranach's earlier works. But the great reprefentative 
of this earlier fchool of diablerie was Peter Breughel, a Flemifh painter 
who flourifhed in the middle of the fixteenth century. He was born at 
Breughel, near Breda, and lived fome time at Antwerp, but afterwards 
efiablifhed himfelf at Bruffels. So celebrated was he for the love of the 
grotefque difplayed in his pictures, that he was known by the name of 
Peter the Droll. Breughel's "Temptation of St. Anthony," like one or 
two others of his fubjecls of the fame clafs, was engraved in a reduced 
form by J. T. de Bry. Breughel's demons are figures of the moft fantaftic 
defcription — creations of a wildly grotefque imagination ; they prefent 
incongruous and laughable mixtures of parts of living things which have no 
relation whatever to one another. Our cut No. 155 reprefents a group of 
thefe grotefque demons, from a plate by Breughel, engraved in 1565, and 
entitled Divus Jacobus diabolicis prcejtigiis ante magum Jijlitur (St. James 
is arretted before the magician by diabolical delufions). The engraving 
is full of fimilarly grotefque figures. On the right is a fpacious chimney, 
and up it witches, riding on brooms, are making their efcape, while in 
the air are feen other witches riding away upon dragons and a goat. A 
kettle is boiling over the fire, around which a group of monkeys are feen 
fitting and warming themfelves. Behind thefe a cat and a toad are 
holding a very intimate converfation. In the background Hands and 
boils the great, witches' caldron. On the right of the picture the magus, 
or magician, is feated, reading his grimoire, with a frame before him 
fupporting the pot containing his magical ingredients. The faint occupies 


292 Hijiory of 'Caricature and Grotefque 

the middle of the picture, furrounded by the demons reprefented in our 
cut and by many others; and as he approaches the magician, he is feen 
raifing his right hand in the attitude of pronouncing a benediction, the 
apparent confequence of which is a frightful explofion of the magician's 
pot, which ftrikes the demons with evident confternation. Nothing can 
be more bizarre than the horfe's head upon human legs in armour, the 
parody upon a crawling fpider behind it, the Ikull (apparently of a horfe) 

No. 155. St. James and his Perjecutors. 

fupported upon naked human legs, the ftrangely excited animal behind 
the latter, and the figure furnilried with pilgrim's hood and ftaff, which 
appears to be mocking the faint. Another print — a companion to the 
foregoing — reprefents the ftill more complete difcomfiture of the magus. 
The faint here occupies the right-hand fide of the pi&ure, and is raifing 
his hand higher, with apparently a greater mow of authority. The 
demons have all turned againft their mafter the magician, whom they are 


in Literature and Art. 

2 93 

beating and hurling headlong from his chair. They feem to be pro- 
claiming their joy at his fall by all forts of playful attitudes. It is a fort 
of demon fair. Some of them, to the left of the picture, are dancing 
and ftanding upon their heads on a tight-rope. Near them another is 
playing fome game like that which we now call the thimble-rig. The 
monkeys are dancing to the tune of a great drum. A variety of their 
mountebank tricks are going on in different parts of the fcene. Three of 
thefe playful a£tors are reprefented in our cut No. 156. 

Breughel alfo executed a feries of flmilarly grotefque engravings, 
reprefenting in this fame fantaflic manner the virtues and vices, fuch as 
Pride (fupcrlia), Courage (fortitudo), Sloth (de/idia), &c. Thefe bear the 

No. 156. Strange Demons. 

date of 1558. They are crowded with figures equally grotefque with 
thofe juft mentioned, but a great part of which it would be almoft 
impomble to defcribe. I give two examples from the engraving of 
" Sloth," in the accompanying cut (No. 157). 

From making up figures from parts of animals, this early fchool of 
grotefque proceeded to create animated figures out of inanimate things, 
fuch as machines, implements of various kinds, houfehold utenfils, and 
other fuch articles. A German artift, of about the fame time as Breughel, 


294 Hijiory of Caricature and Grot efque 

has left us a fingular fenes of etchings of this defcription, which are 
inrended as an allegorical fatire on the follies of mankind. The allegory 

No. 157. Imps of Sloth, 

is here of fuch a fingular character, that we can only guefs at the meaning 
of thefe ftrange groups through four lines of German verfe which are 

No. 158. The Folly of Hunting. 

attached to each of them. In this manner we learn that the group 
reprefented in our cut, No. 158, which is the fecond in this feries, is 


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intended as a fatire upon thofe who wafte their time in hunting, which, 
the verfes tell us, they will in the fequel lament bitterly ; and they are 
exhorted to cry loud and continually to God, and to let that ferve them 
in the place of hound and hawk. 

Die zeh die du 'uerleurfi mit jagen i 

Die ivirftu zivar noch fchmertzlich klagen ,• 
Ruff laut zu Gott gar oft und vi/, 

Das fey dein hund und federfpil. 

The next picture in the feries, which is equally difficult to defcribe, 
is aimed againft thofe who fail in attaining virtue or honour through 
fluggifbnefs. Others follow, but I will only give one more example. It 
forms our cut No. 159, and appears, from the verfes accompanying it, to 

No. 159. The Wafiefulnef of Youth. 

be aimed againft thofe who practice waftefulnefs in their youth, and thus 
become objects of pity and fcorn in old age. Whatever may be the point 
of the allegory contained in the engraving, it is certainly far-fetched, 
and not very apparent. 

This German-Flemifh fchool of grotefque does not appear to have 
outlived the fixteenth century, or at leaft it had ceafed to flourifh in the 
century following. But the tafte for the diablerie of the Temptation 


296 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

fcenes paffed into France and Italy, in which countries it aflumed a much 
more refined character, though at the fame time one equally grotefque 
and imaginative. Thefe artifts, too, returned to the original legend, and 
gave it forms of their own conception. Daniel Rabel, a French artift, 
who lived at the end of the fixteenth century, publiihed a rather remark- 
able engraving of the "Temptation of St. Anthony," in which the faint 
appears on the right of the picture, kneeling before a mound on which 
three demons are dancing. On the right hand of the faint Hands a naked 
woman, fheltering herfelf with a parafol, and tempting the faint with her 
charms. The reft of the piece is filled with demons in a great variety of 
forms and poftures. Another French artifl, Nicholas Cochin, has left us 
two "Temptations of St. Anthony," in rather fpirited etching, of the 
earlier part of the feventeenth century. In the firft, the faint is repre- 
fented kneeling before a crucifix, furrounded by demons. The youthful 
and charming temptrefs is here dreifed in the richeft garments, and the 
higheft ftyle of fafhion, and difplays all her powers of feduction. The 
body of the picture is, as ufual, occupied by multitudes of diabolical 
figures, in grotefque forms. In Cochin's other picture of the Temp- 
tation of St. Anthony, the faint is reprefented as a hermit engaged 
in his prayers ; the female figure of voluptuoufnefs (voluptas) occupies 
the middle of the picture, and behind ihe faint is feen a witch with her 

But the artifl who excelled in this fubjedt at the period at which we 
now arrive, was the celebrated Jacques Callot, who was born at Nancy, 
in Brittany, in 1393, and died at Florence on the 24th of March, 1635, 
which, according to the old ftyle of calculating, may mean March, 1636. 
Of Callot we fhall have to fpeak in another chapter. He treated the 
fubject of the Temptation of St. Anthony in two different plates, which 
are confidered as ranking among the mofl remarkable of his works, and 
to which, in fact, he appears to have given much thought and attention. 
He is known, indeed, to have worked diligently at it. They refemble 
thofe of the older artifts in the number of diabolical figures introduced 
into the picture, but they difplay an extraordinary vivid imagination in 
the forms, poftures, phyfiognomies, and even the equipments, of the 


in Literature and Art. 


chimerical figures, all equally droll and burlefque, but which prefent an 
entire contraft to the more coarfe and vulgar conceptions of the German- 
Flemifh fchool. This difference will be underftood befl by an example. 

The Demon Tiber {Callot). 

One of Callot's demons is reprefented in our cut No. 160. Many of them 
ate mounted on nondefcript animals, of the mofl extraordinary demoniacal 
chara6ter, and fuch is the cafe of the demon in our cut, who is running a 

No. 161. Uneajy I Caller), 

tilt at the faint with his tilting fpear in his hand, and, to make more 
fure, his eyes well furnifhed with a pair of fpe&acles. In our next cut, 
No. 161, we give a fecond example of the figures in Callot's peculiar 

a q aiallerie. 

298 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

diablerie. The demon in this cafe is riding very uneafily, and, in fact, 
feems in danger of being thrown. The fteeds of both are of an anomalous 
character ; the firft is a fort of dragon-horfe ; the fecond a mixture of a 
lobfter, a fpider, and a craw-fifh. Mariette, the art-collector and art- 
writer of the reign of Louis XV. as well as artift, confiders this grotefque, 
or, as he calls it, " fantaftic and comic character," as almoft necefTary to 
the pictures of the Temptation of St. Anthony, which he treats as 
one of Callot's efpecially ferious fubjects. " It was allowable," he fays, 
" to Callot, to give a flight to his imagination. The more his fictions 
were of the nature of dreams, the more they were fitted to what he had 
to exprefs. For the demon intending to torment St. Anthony, it is to be 
fuppofed that he mult have thought of all the forms mofl hideous, and 
moft likely to ftrike terror." 

Callot's firft and larger print of the Temptation of St Anthony 
is rare. It is filled with a vaft number of figures. Above is a fantaftic 
being who vomits thoufands of demons. The faint is feen at the entrance 
of a cavern, tormented by fome of thefe. Others are fcattered about 
in different occupations. On one fide, a demoniacal party are drinking 
together, and pledging each other in their glafTes ; here, a devil is playing 
on the guitar ; there, others are occupied in a dance ; all fuch grotefque 
figures as our two examples would lead the reader to expect. In the fecond 
of Callot's "Temptations," which is dated in 1635, and mufl therefore 
have been one of his lateft works, the fame figure vomiting the demons 
occupies the upper part of the plate, and the field is covered with a 
prodigious number of imps, more hideous in their forms, and more varied 
in their extraordinary attitudes, than in the fame artift's firft defign. 
Below, a holt of demons are dragging the faint to a place where new 
torments are prepared for him. Callot's prints of the Temptation of 
St. Anthony gained lb great a reputation, that imitations of them were 
fubfequently publiihed, fome ot which fo far approached his ftyle, that 
they were long fuppofed to be genuine. 

Callot, though a Frenchman, ftudied and flouriihed in Italy, and his 
ftyle is founded upon Italian art. The laft great artift whofe treatment 
of the Temptation I fhall quote, is Salvator Rofa, an Italian by birth, 


in Literature and Art. 


who flourithed in the middle of the feventeenth century. His ftyle, 
according to fome opinions, is refined from that of Callot ; at all events, 
it is bolder in defign. Our cut No. 162 reprefents St. Anthony protect- 

ee. 162. St. Anthony and his Perfecutor, 

ing himfelf with the crofs againft the afTaults of the demon, as reprefented 
by Salvator Rofa. With this artift the fchool of diablerie of the fixteenth 
century may be conlidered to have come to its end. 

300 Hijtory of Caricature and Grotefaue 






THE art of engraving on copper, although it had made rapid advances 
during the lixteenth century, was ftill very far from perfection ; but 
the clofe of that century witnelfed the birth of a man who was deftined 
not only to give a new chara&er to this art, but alfo to bring in a new 
ftyle of caricature and burlefque. This was the celebrated Jacques Callot, 
a native of Lorraine, and defcended from a noble Burgundian family. 
His father, Jean Callot, held the office of herald of Lorraine. Jacques 
was born in the year 1^92,* at Nancy, and appears to have been deftined 
for the church, with a view to which his early education was regulated. 
But the early life of Jacques Callot prefents a romantic epifode in the 
hiftory of art afpirations. While yet hardly more than an infant, he 
feized every opportunity of neglecting more ferious ftudies to practife 
drawing, and he difplayed efpecially a very precocious tafte for fatire, 
for his artiftic talent was fhown principally in caricaturing all the 
people he knew. His father, and apparently all his relatives, difapproved 
of his love for drawing, and did what they could to difcourage it 5 but in 
vain, for he ftill found means of indulging it. Claude Henriet, the 
painter to the court of Lorraine, gave him leflbns, and his fon, Ifrael 
Henriet, formed for him a boy's friendfhip. He alfo learnt the elements 

* This is the date fixed by Meaume, in his excellent work on Callot, entitled 
"Reeherches sur la Vie et les Ouv rages de Jacques Callot, 11 2 torn. 8vo., i860. 

in Literature and Art. 301 

of the art of engraving of Demange Crocq, the engraver to the duke of 

About this time, the painter Bellange, who had been a pupil of 
Claude Henriet, returned from Italy, and gave young Callot an exciting 
account of the wonders of art to be feen in that country ; and foon after- 
wards Claude Henriet dying, his fon Ifrael went to Rome, and his letters 
from thence bad no lefs effect on the mind of the young artift at Nancy, 
than the converfation of Bellange. Indeed the paffion of the boy for art 
was fo ftrong, that, finding his parents obftinately oppofed to all his 
longings in this direction, he left his father's houfe fecretly, and, in the 
fpring of 1604, when he had only juft entered his thirteenth year, he fet 
out for Italy on foot, without introductions and almoft without money. 
He was even unacquainted with the road, but after proceeding a fhort 
diftance, he fell in with a band of gipfies, and, as they were going to 
Florence, he joined their company. His life among the gipfies, which 
lafted feven or eight weeks, appears to have furnifhed food to his love of 
burlefque and caricature, and he has handed down to us his impreffions, 
in a feries of four engravings of fcenes in gipfy life, admirably executed 
at a rather later period of his life, which are full of comic humour. 
When they arrived at Florence, Jacques Callot parted company with the 
gipfies, and was fortunate enough to meet with an officer of the grand 
duke's houfehold, who liftened to his ftory, and took fo much intereft in 
him, that he obtained him admiffion to the Audio of Remigio Canta 
Gallina. This artift gave him inftructions in drawing and engraving, and 
fought to correct him of his tafie for the grotefque by keeping him 
employed upon ferious fubjects. 

After ftudying for fome months under Canta Gallina, Jacques Callot 
left Florence, and proceeded to Rome, to feek his old friend Ifrael 
Henriet ; but he had hardly arrived, when he was recognifed in the 
flreets by fome merchants from Nancy, who took him, and in fpite of his 
tears and refiftance, carried him home to his parents. He was now 
kept to his ftudies more ftrictly than ever, but nothing could overcome 
his paffion for art, and, having contrived to lay by fome money, after a 
fhort interval he again ran away from home. This time he took the road 


302 Hijlo^y of Caricature and Qrote/que 

to Lyons, and croffed Mont Cenis, and he had reached Turin when he 
met in the ftreet of that city his elder brother Jean, who again carried 
him home to Nancy. Nothing could now reprefs young Callot's ardour, 
and foon after this fecond efcapade, he engraved a copy of a portrait of 
Charles III., duke of Lorraine, to which he put his name and the date 
1607, and which, though it difplays little fkill in engraving, excited 
confiderable interefl at the time. His parents were now perfuaded that 
it was ufelefs to thwart any longer his natural inclinations, and they not 
only allowed him to follow them, but they yielded to his wifh to return 
to Italy. The circumftances of the moment were efpecially favourable. 
Charles III., duke of Lorraine, was dead, and his fucceffor, Henry II., 
was preparing to fend an embarTy to Rome to announce his acceffion. 
Jean Callot, by his pofition of herald, had fufficient interefl: to obtain for 
his fon an appointment in the ambaffador's retinue, and Jacques Callot 
ftarted for Rome on the ill of December, 1608, under more favourable 
aufpices than thofe which had attended his former vifits to Italy. 

Callot reached Rome at the beginning of the year 1609, and now at 
length he joined the friend of his childhood, Ifrael Henriet, and began 
to throw all his energy into his art-labours. It is more than probable 
that he ftudied under Tempefta, with Henriet, who was a pupil of that 
painter, and another Lorrainer, Claude Dervet. After a time, Callot 
began to feel the want of money, and obtained employment of a French 
engraver, then refiding in Rome, named Philippe Thomaflin, with whom 
he worked nearly three years, and became perfect in handling the graver. 
Towards the end of the year 161 1, Callot went to Florence, to place 
himfelf under Julio Parigi, who then flourished there as a painter and 
engraver. Tufcany was at this time ruled by its duke Cofmo de' Medicis, 
a great lover of the arts, who took Callot under his patronage, giving him 
the means to advance himfelf. Hitherto his occupation had been prin- 
cipally copying the works of others, but under Parigi he began to praclife 
more in original defign, and his tafte for the grotefque came upon him 
llronger than ever. Although Parigi blamed it, he could not help 
admiring the talent it betrayed. In 161 5, the grand duke gave a great 
entertainment to the prince of Urbino, and CaPot was employed to make 



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engravings of the feftivities ; it was his firft commencement in a clafs of 
defigns by which he afterwards attained great celebrity. In the year 
following, his engagement with Parigi ended, and he became his own 
mafter. He now came out unfettered in his own originality. The firft 
fruits were feen in a new kind of defigns, to which he gave the name of 
"Caprices," a feries of which appeared about the year 1617, under the 
title of" Caprici di varie Figure." Callot re-engraved them at Nancy in 
later years, and in the new title they were ftated to have been originally 
engraved in 1616. In a ihort preface, he fpeaks of thefe as the firft of 
his works on which he fet any value. They now ftrike us as lingular 

No. 163. A Cripple. 

examples of the fanciful creations of a moft grotefque imagination, but 
they no doubt preferve many traits of the feftivals, ceremonies, and 
manners of that land of mafquerade, which mull have been then familiar 
to the Florentines ; and thefe engravings would, doubtlefs, be received by 
them with abfolute delight. One is copied in our cut No. 163 ; it 
reprefents a cripple fupporting himfelf on a fhort crutch, with his right arm 
in a fling. Our cut No. 164 is another example from the fame fet, and 
reprefents a mafked clown, with his left hand on the hilt of his dagger, 
or perhaps of a wooden fword. From this time, although he was very 
induftrious and produced much, Callot engraved only his own defigns. 


304 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grot ef que 

While employed for others, Callot had worked chiefly with the graver, 
but now that he was his own mailer, he laid afide that implement, and 
devoted himfelf almoft entirely to etching, in which he attained the 
higher!: proficiency. His work is remarkable for the cleannefs and eafe of 
his lines, and for the life and fpirit he gave to his figures. His talent lay 

No. 164. A Grotefque Majker. 

efpecially in the extraordinary ikill with which he grouped together 
great numbers of diminutive figures, each of which preferved its proper 
and full action and effect. The great annual fair of the Impruneta was 
held with extraordinary feflivities, and attended by an immenfe concourfe 
of people of all daffes, on St. Luke's Day, the 18th of October, in the 
outlkirts of Florence. Callot engraved a large picture of this fair, which 
is abfolutely wonderful. The picture embraces an extenfive fpace of 
ground, which is covered with hundreds of figures, all occupied, fingly or 
in groups, in different manners, converting, mafquerading, buying and 
felling, playing games, and performing in various ways; each group or 


in Literature and Art. 305 

figure is a picture in itielf. This engraving produced quite a fenfation, 
and it was followed by other pictures of fairs, and, after his final return 
to Nancy, Callot engraved it anew. It was this talent for grouping 
large maiTes of perfons which caufed the artifr. to be fo often employed 
in drawing great public ceremonies, lieges, and other warlike operations. 

By the duke of Florence, Cofmo II., Callot was liberally patronifed 
and loaded with benefits, but on his death the government had to be 
placed in the hands of a regency, and art and literature no longer met 
with the fame encouragement. In this Itate of things, Callot was found 
by Charles of Lorraine, afterwards duke Charles IV., and perfuaded to 
return to his native country. He arrived at Nancy in 1622, and began 
to work there with greater activity even than he had difplayed before. It 
was not long after this that he produced his fets of grotefques, the Balli 
(or dancers), the Gobbi (or hunchbacks), and the Beggars. The firft of 
thefe fets, called in the title Balli, or Cucurucu* confifts of twenty-four 
fmall plates, each of them containing two comic characters in grotefque 
attitudes, with groups of fmaller figures in the diftance. Beneath the 
two prominent figures are their names, now unintelligible, but at that 
time no doubt well known on the comic ftage at Florence. Thus, in 
the couple given in our cut No. 16 5, which is taken from the fourth 
plate of the feries, the perfonage to the left is named Smaraolo Cornuto, 
which means limply Smaraolo the cuckold ; and the one on the right is 
called Ratfa di Boio. In the original the background is occupied by a 
ftreet, full of fpe&ators, looking on at a dance of pantaloons, round one 
who is mounted on flilts and playing on the tabour. The couple in our cut 

Xo. 166, 

* Meaume appears ro be doubtful of the meaning of this word ; a friend has 
pointed out to me the correction. It was the title of a song, so called because the 
burden was an imitation of the crowing of a cock, the singer mimicking also the 
action of the bird. When Bacchus, in RedPs " Bacco in Toscana," is beginning 
to feel the exhilarating effects of his critical investigation of the Tuscan wines, he 
calls upon Ariadne to sing to him "sulia mandola la Cucurucu," "on the man- 
dola the Cucurucu." A note fully explains the word as we have stated it — " Can- 
zone cosi detta, perche in esse si replica molte volte la voce del gallo ; e cantandola 
si fanno atti e moti simili a quegli di esso gallo. " 

306 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotejque 

No. 166, reprefents another of Callot's " Caprices," from a fet differing 
from the firft " Caprices/' or the Balli. The Gobbi, or hunchbacks, form 

No. 165. Smaraoio Cornuto. — Ratja di Boio. 

a fet of twenty-one engravings ; and the fet of the Gipfies, already alluded 
to, which was alfo executed at Nancy, was included in four plates, the 

No, 1 66. A Caprice. 

fubje&s of which were feverally — 1, the gipfies travelling; 2, the avant- 
guard; 3, the halt ; and 4, the preparations for the feafl. Nothing could 

in Literature and Art. 


be more truthful, and at the fame time more comic, than this lafl: fet of 
fubjecfs. We give, as an example of the fet of the Baroni, or beggars, 
Callot's figure of one of that particular clafs — for beggars and rogues of 
all kinds were claffified in thofe days — whofe part it was to appeal to 
charity by wounds and fores artificially reprefented. In the Englifh Hang 

The Falje Cripple. 

of the feventeenth century, thefe artificial fores were called clymes, and a 
curious account of the manner in which they were made will be found in 
that lingular picture of the vicious clalfes of fociety in this country at that 
period, the " Englifh Rogue," by Head and Kirkman. The falfe cripple 
in our cut is holding up his leg to make a difplay of his pretended 

Callot remained at Nancy, with merely temporary abfences, during 
the remainder of his life. In 1628, he was employed at BrulTels in 
drawing and engraving the " Siege of Breda," one of the raoft finifhed ot 
his works, and he there made the perfonal acquaintance of Vandyck. Early 


308 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefaue 

in j 629, he was called to Paris to execute engravings of the fiege of 
La Rochelle, and of the defence of the Ifle of Rhe, but he returned to 
Nancy in 1630. Three years afterwards his native country was invaded 
by the armies of Louis XIIL, and Nancy furrendered to the French on 
the 25th of September, 1633. Callot was required to make engravings 
to celebrate the fall of his native town ; but, although he is faid to have 
been threatened with violence, he refufed ; and afterwards he com- 
memorated the evils brought upon his country by the French invafion in 
thofe two immortal fets of prints, the leffer and greater " Miseres de la 
Guerre." About two years after this, Callot died, in the prime of life, 
on the 24th of March, 1635. 

The fame of Callot was great among his contemporaries, and his name 
is juftly refpe6ted as one of the moft illuflrious in the hiftory of French 
art. He had, as might be expected, many imitators, and the Caprices, 
the Balli, and the Gobbi, became very favourite fubjecfs. Among thefe 
imitators, the moft fuccefsful and the moft diftinguithed was Stephano 
Delia Bella ; and, indeed, the only one deferving of particular notice. 
Delia Bella was born at Florence, on the 18th of May, 1610 j* his father, 
dying two years afterwards, left him an orphan, and his mother in great 
poverty. As he grew up, he fhowed, like Callot himfelf, precocious 
talents in art, and of the fame kind. He eagerly attended all public 
feftivals, games, &c, and on his return from them made them the fubject 
of grotefque iketches. It was remarked of him, efpecially, that he had a 
curious habit of always beginning to draw a human figure from the feet, 
and proceeding upwards to the head. He was ftruck at a very early 
period of his purfuit of art by the ftyle of Callot, of which, at firft, he 
was a fervile imitator, but he afterwards abandoned fome of its pecu- 
liarities, and adopted a ftyle which was more his own, though ftill founded 
upon that of Callot. He almoft rivalled Callot in his fuccefs in grouping 
multitudes of figures together, and hence he alfo was much employed in 

* The materials for the history of Delia Bella and his works, will be found in 
a carefully compiled volume, by C. A. Jombert, entitled, " Essai d'un Catalogue 
de TOeuvre d'Etienne de la Bella." 8vo., Paris, 1772. 

in Literature and Art. 


producing engravings of lieges, feftive entertainments, and mch elaborate 
fubjetts. As Callot's afpirations had been directed towards Italy, thofe of 
Delia Bella were turned towards France, and when in the latter days of 
the miniftry of Cardinal Richelieu, the grand duke of Florence fent 
Alexandra del Nero as his refident ambaffador in Paris, Delia Bella was 
permitted to accompany him. Richelieu was occupied in the liege of 
Arras, and the engraving of that event was the foundation of Delia Bella's 
fame in France, where he remained about ten years, frequently employed 
on fimilar fubjects. He fubfequently vifited Flanders and Holland, and 
at Amfterdam made the acquaintance of Rembrandt. He returned to 
Florence in 1650, and died there on the 23rd of July, 1664. 

While ftill in Florence, Delia Bella executed four prints of dwarfs 
quite in the grotefque ftyle of Callot. In 1637, on the occafion of the 
marriage of the grand duke Ferdinand II., Delia Bella publifhed 
engravings of the different fcenes reprefented, or performed, on that 
occafion. Thefe were effected by very elaborate machinery, and were 
reprefented in fix engravings, the fifth 
of which {fcena quinta) reprefents 
hell {d* Inferno), and is filled with 
furies, demons, and witches, which 
might have found a place in Callot's 
"Temptation of St. Anthony." 

A fpecimen of thefe is given in our 
cut No. 168 — a naked witch feated 
upon a fkeleton of an animal that 
might have been borrowed from fome 
far diftant geological period. In 
1642, Delia Bella executed a set of 

fmall " Caprices," confifling of thirteen plates, from the eighth of which 
we take our cut No. 169. It reprefents a beggar-woman, carrying one 
child on her back, while another is ftretched on the ground. In this 
ciafs of fubjects Delia Bella imitated Callot, but the copyift never fnc- 
ceeded in equalling the original. His bell ftyle, as an original artift of 
burlefque and caricature, is mown in a let of five plates of Death carrying 


Ac. 168. A Witch Mounted. 

3 1 o Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

away people of different ages, which he executed in 1648. The fourth 
of this fet is copied in our cut No. 170, and reprefents Death carrying 
off, on his fhoulder, a yoang woman, in fpite of her ftruggles to efcape 
from him. 

With the clofe of the feventeenth century thefe " Caprices " and 

No. 169. Beggary. 

mafquerade fcenes began to be no longer in vogue, and caricature and 
burlefque aimmed new forms ; but Callot and Delia Bella had many 
followers, and their examples had a lafling influence upon art. 

We muft not forget that a celebrated artifl, in another country, at the 
end of the fame century, the well-known Romain de Hooghe, was pro- 
duced from the fchool of Callot, in which he had learnt, not the arts of 
burlefque and caricature, but that of skilfully grouping multitudes of 
figures, efpecially in iubje&s reprefenting epifodes of war, tumults, 
malfacres, and public proceffions. 

Of Romain de Hooghe we lhall have to fpeak again in a fubfequent 
chapter. In his time the art of engraving had made great advance on the 
Continent, and efpecially in France, where it met with more encourage- 
ment than elfewhere. In England this art had, on the whole, made much 
lefs progrefs, and was in rather a low condition, one branch only excepted, 
that of portraits. Of the two diftinguifhed engravers in England during 
the feventeenth century, Hollar was a Bohemian, and Faithorne, though 


in Literature and Art. 


an Englifhman, learnt his art in France. We only began to have an 
Englifh fchool when Dutch and French engravers came in with King 
William to lay the groundwork. 


No. 1 70. Death carrying off hh Trey. 

3 1 2 Hijtory of Caricature and Grot ej que 







THE fixteenth century, efpecially on the Continent, was a period of that 
fort of violent agitation which is moft favourable to the growth of 
fatire. Society was breaking up, and going through a courfe of decom- 
poiition, and it prefented to the view on every fide fpe6tacles which pro- 
voked the mockery, perhaps more than the indignation, of lookers-on. 
Even the clergy had learnt to laugh at themfelves, and almoft at their own 
religion ; and people who thought ot reflected were gradually feparating 
into two clafTes — thofe who cafl all religion from them, and rufhed into a 
jeering fcepticifm, and thofe who entered ferioufly and with refolution into 
the work of reformation. The latter found moft encouragement among 
the Teutonic nations, while the fceptical element appears to have had its 
birth in Italy, and even in Rome itfelf, where, among popes and cardinals, 
religion had degenerated into empty forms. 

At fome period towards the clofe of the fifteenth century, a mutilated 
ancient ftatue was accidentally dug up in Rome, and it was erected on a 
pedeftal in a place not far from the Urfini Palace. Oppofite it flood the 
(hop of a fhoemaker, named Pafquillo, or Pafquino, the latter being the form 
moft commonly adopted at a later period. This Pafquillo was notorious 
as a facetious fellow, and his fh p was ufually crowded by people who 
went there to tell tales and hear news ; and, as no other name had been 


in Literature and Art, 3x3 


invented for the ftatue, people agreed to give it the name of the fhoemaker, 
and they called it Pafquillo. It became a cuftora, at certain feafons, to 
write on pieces of paper fatirical epigrams, fonnets, and other fhort cora- 
pofitions in Latin or Italian, moftly of a perfonal character, in which the 
writer declared whatever he had feen or heard to the difcredit of fomebody, 
and thefe were published by depofiting them with the ftatue, whence 
they were taken and read. One of the Latin epigrams which pleads 
againft committing thefe mort perfonal fatires to print, calls the time at 
which it was ufual to compofe them PafquiFs feftival : — 

Jam redit ilia dies in qua Romana jwventus 

Pafquilli fejlum concelcbrabit ovans. 
Sed verfus impreffos obfecro ut edere omittas, 

Ne noceant iter urn qua nocuere feme I. 

The feftival was evidently a favourite one, and well celebrated. "The 
foldiers of Xerxes," fays another epigram, placed in Pafquil's mouth, 
" were not fo plentiful as the paper beftowed upon me ; I mall foon become 
a bookfeller " — 

Armigerum Xerxi non copia tanta papyri 
Quanta mihi : flam bibliopola fiatim. 

The name of Pafquil was foon given to the papers which were 
depofited with the ftatue, and eventually a pafquil, or pafquin, was only 
another name for a lampoon or libel. Not far from this ftatue ftood 
another, which was found in the forum of Mars (Martis forum), and 
was thence popularly called Marforio. Some of thefe fatirical writings 
were compofed in the form of dialogues between Pafquil and Marforio, 
or of meffages from one to the other. 

A collection of thefe pafquils was publithed in 1544 in two fmall 
volumes.* Many of them are extremely clever, and they are fharply pointed. 
The popes are frequent objects of bitterer! fatire. Thus we are reminded 
in two lines upon pope Alexander VI. (fextus), the infamous Borgia, that 
Tarquin had been a Sextus, and Nero alio, and now another Sextus was 


* " Pasquillorum Tomi duo.'" Eleutheropoli, iVrvuin. 
s> s 

314 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

at the head of the Romans, and told that Rome was always ruined under 
a Sextus — 

De Alexandre) VI. Pont. 
Sextus Tarquinius, Sextus Nero, Sextus et ijie : 
Semper fub Sextis perdita Romafuit. 

The following is given for an epitaph on Lucretla Borgia, pope 
Alexander's profligate daughter : — 

Hoc tumulo dorm'it Lucretia nomine, fed re 
Thais, Alexandri Jilia, fponfa, nurus. 

In another of a rather later date, Rome, addreffing herfelf to Pafquil, is 
made to complain of two fucceflive popes, Clement VII. (Julio de Medicis, 
1523-1^34) and Paul III. (Alexandra Farnefe, 1534- 1549), and alfo of 
Leo X. (1J13-1521). "I am," Rome fays, " fick enough with the 
phyfician {Medicus, as a pun on the Medicis), I was alfo the prey of the 
lion (Leo), now, Paul, you tear idv vitals like a wolf. You, Paul, are not 
a god to me, as I thought in my folly, but you are a wolf, fince you tear 
the food from my mouth " — 

Sum Medico fatis cegra, fui quoque prceda Leonis, 

Nunc mea dilaceras <vifcera, Paule, lupus. 
Non es, Paule, mi hi numen, ceu fiulta putabam, 

Sed lupus es, quoniam Jubtrahis ore cibum. 

Another epigram, addreffed to Rome herfelf, involves a pun in Greek 
(in the words Paulos, Paul, and Pliaulos, wicked). " Once, Rome," it 
lays, " lords of lords were thy fubjeds, now thou in thy wretchednefs art 
fubject to the ferfs of ferfs ; once you liftened to the oracles of St. Paul, 
but now you perform the abominable commands of the wicked " — 

Quondam, Roma, tibi Juberant domini dominorum, 

Servorum fer-uis nunc miferanda jubes ; 
Audijii quondam di'vini oracula UavXov, 

At nunc T u>v <f>av\u>v jujfa nefanda facis. 

The idea, of courfe, is the contrail of Rome in her Pagan glory, with 
Rome in her Chriftian debafement, very much the fame as that which 


in Literature and Art. 


ftruck Gibbon, and gave birth to his great hiftory of Rome's " decline and 

The pafquils formed a body of fatire which flruck indifcriminately at 
everybody within its range, but fatirifts were now riling who took for 
their fubjects fpeciai cafes of the general diforder. Rotten at the heart, 
fociety prefented an external gloflinefs, a mixture of pedantry and affecta- 
tion, which offered fabjects enough for ridicule in whatever point of 
view it was taken. The ecclefiaftical body was in a ftate of fermentation, 
out of which new feelings and new doctrines were about to rife. The 
old learning and literature of the middle ages remained in form after 
their fpirit had pafTed away, and they were now contending clumfily 
and unfuccefsfully againft new learning and literature of a more refined 
and healthier character. Feudalifm itfelf had fallen, or it was flruggling 
vainly againft new political principles, yet the ariflocracy clung to feudal 
forms and feudal afTumptions, with an exaggeration which was meant 
for an appearance of flrength. Among the literary affectations of 
this falfe feudalifm, was the falhion for reading the long, dry, old 
romances of chivalry ; while the churchmen and fchoolmen were cor- 
rupting the language in which mediaeval learning had been expreffed, 
into a form the moft barbarous, or introducing words compounded 
from the later into the vernacular tongue. Thefe peculiarities were 
among the firft to provoke literary fatire. Italy, where this clafs of fatire 
originated, gave it its name alfo, though it appears ftill to be a matter of 
doubt why it was called macaronic, or in its Italian form maccharonea. 
Some have confidered this name to have been taken from the article of 
food called macaroni, to which the Italians were, and ftill are, fo much 
attached ; while others pretend that it was derived from an old Italian 
word macarone, which meant a lubberly fellow. Be this, however, as it 
may, what is called macaronic compofition, which confifts in giving a 


* Pasquil and Pasquin became, during the latter part of the sixteenth and the 
whole of the seventeenth centuries, a well-known name in French and English 
literature. In English popular literature he was turned into a jester, and a book 
was published in 1604 under the title "Pasquil's Jests; with the Merriments of 
Mother Bunch. Wittie, pleasant, and delightfull." 

316 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

Latin form to words taken from the vulgar tongue, and mixing them 
with words which are purely Latin, was introduced in Italy at the clofe 
of the fifteenth century. 

Four Italian writers in macaronic verfe are known to have lived 
before the year 1500.* The firft of thefe was named FofTa, and he tells 
us that he compofed his poem entitled " Vigonce," on the fecond day of 
May, 1494. It was printed in 1502. BafTano, a native of Mantua, and 
the author of a macaronic which bears no title, was dead in 1499 ; and 
another, a Paduan named Fifi degli Odaffi, was born about the year 1450. 
Giovan Georgio Allione, of ASti, who is believed alfo to have written 
during the laft ten years of the fifteenth century, is a name better known 
through the edition of his French works, published by Monfleur J. C. 
Brunet in 1836. All thefe prefent the fame coarfenefs and vulgarity of 
lentiment, and the fame licence in language and defcription, which appear 
to have been taken as necefTary characteristics of macaronic composition. 
Odaffi appears to give fupport to the derivation of the name from 
macaroni, by making the principal character of his poem a fabricator of that 
article in Padua — 

Eft unus in Padua natus fpeciale cu/tnus, 

In maccharonea princeps bonus atquc magifter. 

But the great mailer of macaronic poetry was Teofilo Folengo, of 
whole life we know juft Sufficient to give us a notion of the perfonal 
character of thefe old literary caricaturists. Folengo was defcended from 
a noble family, which had its feat at the village of Cipada, near Mantua* 
where he was born on the 8th of November, 1491, and baptifed by the 
name of Girolamo. He purfued his Studies, firft in the university of 
Ferrara, under the profeffor Vifago Cocaio, and afterwards in that of 
Bologna, under Pietro Pomponiazzo 5 or rather, he ought to have purfued 


* The great authority on the history of Macaronic literature is my excellent 
friend Monsieur Octave Delepierre, and I will simply refer the reader to his two 
valuable publications, " Macaroneana, ou Melanges de Lirterature Macaronique 
des differents Peuples de rEurope," 8vo., Paris, 1852; and " Macaroneana," 4to., 
1863 • the latter printed for the Philobiblon Club. 

in Literature and Art. 3 1 7 

them, for his love of poetry, and his gaiety of character, led him to 
neglect them, and at length his irregularities became fo great, that he 
was obliged to make a hafly flight from Bologna. He was ill received at 
home, and he left it alfo, and appears to have fubfequently led a wild life, 
during part of which he adopted the profeflion of a foldier, until at length 
he took refuge in a Benedictine convent near Brefcia, in 1507, and 
became a monk. The difcipline of this houfe had become entirely 
relaxed, and the monks appear to have lived very licentioufly ; and 
Folengo, who, on his admiffion to the order, had exchanged his former 
baptifmal name for Teofilo, readily conformed to their example. Even- 
tually he abandoned the convent and the habit, ran away with a lady 
named Girolama Dedia, and for fome years he led a wandering, and, it 
would feem, very irregular life. Finally, in 1527, he returned to his 
old profeflion of a monk, and remained in it until his death, in the 
December of 1544. He is faid to have been extremely vain of his poetical 
talents, and a ftory is told of him which, even if it were invented, illuf- 
trates well the character which was popularly given to him. It is faid 
that when young, he afpired to excel in Latin poetry, and that he wrote 
an epic which he himfelf believed to be fuperior to the iEneid. When, 
however, he had communicated the work to his friend the bilhop oi 
Mantua, and that prelate, intending to compliment him, told him that 
he had equalled Virgil, he was fo mortified, that he threw the manufcript 
on the fire, and from that time devoted his talents entirely to the 
compofition of macaronic verfe. 

Such was the man who has juftly earned the reputation of being the 
firft of macaronic poets. When he adopted this branch of literature, 
while he was in the univerfity of Bologna, he aflumed in writing it the 
name of Merlinus Cocaius, or Coccaius, probably from the name of his 
profeffor at Ferrara. Folengo's printed poems confift of — [. The Zani- 
tonella, a paftoral in feven eclogues, defcribing the loVe of Tonellus for 
Zanina ; 1, the macaronic romance of Baldus, Folengo's principal and 
mofl: remarkable work ; 3, the Mofchaea, or dreadful battle between the 
flies and the ants ; and 4, a book of Epiftles and Epigrams. 

The firft edition of the Baldus appeared in 1517. It is a fort of 


3 1 8 Hz/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

parody on the romances of chivalry, -and coliibines a jovial fatire upon 
everything, which, as has been remarked, fpares neither religion nor 
politics, fcience nor literature, popes, kings, clergy, nobility, or people. 
It confifts of twenty-five cantos, or, as they are termed in the original, 
phantajice , fantafles. In the firft we are told of the origin of Baldus. 
There was at the court of France a famous knight named Guy, defcended 
from that memorable paladin Renaud of Montauban. The king, who 
mowed a particular efteem for Guy, had alfo a daughter of furpaffing 
beauty, named Balduine, who had fallen in love with Guy, and he was 
equally amorous of the princefs. In the fequel of a grand tournament, 
at which Guy has diftinguifhed bimfelf greatly, he carries off Balduine, 
and the two lovers fly on foot, in the difguife of beggars, reach the 
Alps in fafety, and crofs them into Italy. At Cipada, in the territory 
of Brefcia, they are hofpitably entertained by a generous peafant named 
Berte Panade, with whom the princefs Balduine, who approaches her time 
of confinement, is left ; while her lover goes forth to conquer at leaft a 
marquifate for her. After his departure the gives birth to a fine boy, which 
is named Baldus. Such, as told in the fecond canto, is the origin of 
Folengo's hero, who is deftined to perform marvellous acts of chivalry. 
The peafant Berte Panade has alfo a fon named Zambellus, by a mother 
who had died in childbirth of him. Baldus paffes for the fon of Berte 
alfo, fo that the two are fuppofed to be brothers. Baldus is fucceffively 
led through a feries of extraordinary adventures, fome low and vulgar, 
others more chivalrous, and fome of them exhibiting a wild fertility of 
imagination, which are too long to enable me to take my readers through 
them, until at length he is left by the poet in the country of Falfehood and 
Charlatanifm, which is inhabited by aftrologers, necromancers, and poets. 
Thus is the hero Baldus dragged through a great number of marvellous 
accidents, fome of them vulgar, many of them ridiculous, and fome, 
again, wildly poetical, but all of them prefenting, in one form or other, 
an opportunity for fatire upon fome of the follies, or vices, or corruptions 
of his age. The hybrid language in which the whole is written, gives 
it a Angularly grotefque appearance ; yet from time to time we have 
paffages which fliow that the author was capable of writing true po3txy, 


in Literature and Art. 3 1 9 

although it is mixed with a great amount of coarfe and licentious ideas, 
expreffed no lefs coarfely and licentioufly. What we may term the filth, 
indeed, forms a large proportion of the Italian macaronic poetry. The 
paftoral of Zanitonella prefents, as might be expected, more poetic 
beauty than the romance of Balbus. As an example of the language 
of the latter, and indeed of that of the Italian macaronics in general, 
I give a few lines of a defcription of a ftorm at fea, from the twelfth 
canto, with a literal tranflation : — 

Jam gr'idor aterias hominum concujjit abyfjos, 
Sentiturque ingens cordarum flridor, et ipfe 
Pont us habet pavidos vultus, mortifque color es. 
Nunc Sircchus habet palmam, nunc Borra fuperchiat ,• 
Irrugit pelagus, tangit quoque fluclibus ajira, 
Fulgure flammigero creber lampezat Olympus ; 
Vela for at a micant crebris lac er at a balottis ,• 
Horrendam mortem nautls ea cuncia mina-zzant. 
Nunc fbalzata rat'is celjum tangebat Olympum, 
Nunc jublt infer nam unda Jbadacchiante paludem, 


Noiv the clamour of the men Jhook the ethereal abyffes, 

And the mighty crajhing of the ropes is felt, and the very 

Sea has pale looks, and the hue of death. 

Noiv the Sirocco has the palm, noiv Eurus exults over it ; 
The fea roars, and touches the far s ivith its waves, 
Olympus continually blazes out ivith flaming thunder, 
The pierced fails glitter torn ivith frequent thunderbolts ; 

All thefe threaten frightful death to the failors. 

Nov the /hip toffed up touched the top of Olympus, 

Noiv, the ivave yaivning, h finks into the infernal lake. 

Teofilo Folengo was followed by a number of imitators, of whom it 
will be fufficient to ftate that he ftands in talent as far above his followers 
as above thofe who preceded him. One of thefe minor Italian macaronic 
writers, named Bartolommeo Bolla, of Bergamo, who flourifhed in the 
latter half of the fixteenth century, had the vanity to call himfelf, in the 
title of one of his books, " the Apollo of poets, and the Cocaius of this 
age j" but a modern critic has remarked of him that he is as far removed 


from his mode] Folengo, as his native town Bergamo is diftant from 
Siberia. An earlier poet, named Guarino Capella, a native of the 
town of Sarfina, in the country of Forli, on the borders of Tufcany, 
approached far nearer in excellence to the prince of macaronic writers. 
His work alfo is a mock romance, the hiftory of " Cabrinus, king of 
Gagamagoga," in fix books or cantos, which was printed at Arimini in 
1526, and is now a book of exceffive rarity. 

The tafte for macaronics pafTed rather early, like all other fafhions in 
that age, from Italy into France, where it firil brought into literary repu- 
tation a man who, if he had not the great talent of Folengo, poffeffed a 
very coniiderable amount of wit and gaiety. Antoine de la Sable, who 
Latinifed bis name into Antonius de Arena, was born of a highly refpe<5t- 
able family at Soliers, in the diocefe of Toulon, about the year 1500, and, 
being deftined from his youth to follow the profeffion of the law, ftudied 
under the celebrated jurifconfult Alciatus. He had only arrived at the 
fimple dignity of juge, at St. Remy, in the diocefe of Aries, when he 
died in the year 1^44- In f ac \> he appears to have been no very diligent 
ftudent, and we gather from his own confeffions that his youth had been 
rather wild. The volume containing his macaronics, the fecond edition 
of which (as far as the editions are known) was printed in 1529, bears a 
title which will give fome notion of the character of its contents, — 
" Provencalis de uragardi/JIma villa de Soleriis, ad suos compagnones qui fun t 
de perfona friantes, baffas danfas et branlas praSiicantes novellas, de guerra 
Romana, Neapolitana, et Genuenfi mandat ; una cum epijlola adfalotijfimam 
fuam garfam, Janam Rofceam, pro paffando tempora " — (i.e. a Provencal of 
the mod fwaggering town of Soliers, fends this to his companions, who are 
dainty of their perfons, practifing baffe dances and new brawls, concern- 
ing the war of Rome, Naples, and Genoa ; with an epiftle to his moil 
merry wench, Jeanne Rofee, for paftime). In the firft of thefe poems 
Arena traces in his burlefque verfe, which is an imitation of Folengo, his 
own adventures and fufferings in the war in Italy which led to the fack of 
Rome, in 1527, and in the fubfequent expeditions to Naples and Genoa. 
From the picture of the horrors of war, he paffes very willingly to defcribe 
the joyous manners of the fludents in Provencal univerfities, of whom he 


in Literature and Art. 321 

tells us, that they are all fine gallants, and always in love with the prettj 

Gentigr.lantes Juni omnes injludiantes, 

Et bellas garfas femper atr.are foler.t. 

He goes on to defcnbe the Scholars as great quarrellers, as well as lovers 
of the other fex, and after dwelling on their gaiety and love of the dance, 
he proceeds to treat in the fame burlefque Style on the Subject of dancing ; 
but I pafs over this to fpeak of Arena's principal piece, the fatirical 
defcription of the invafion of Provence by the emperor Charles V. in 
1^6. This curious poem, which is entitled " Meygra Enterprifa Cato- 
loqui imperatoris," and which extends to upwards of two thoufand lines, 
opens with a laudatory addrefs to the king of France, Francois I., and 
with a fneer at the pride of the emperor, who, believing himfelf to be 
the maSier of the whole world, had fooliihly thought to take away France 
and the cities of Provence from their rightful monarch. It was Antonio 
de Leyva, the boaSter, who had put this project into the emperor's head, 
and they bad already pillaged and ravaged a good part of Provence, and 
were dividing the plunder, when, harafled continually by the peafantry, 
the invaders were brought to a fland by the difficulty of fubfifting in a 
devastated country, and by the difeafes to which this difficulty gave rife. 
Neverthelefs, the Spaniards and their allies committed terrible devalua- 
tion, which is defcribed by Arena in flrong language. He commemorates 
the valiant refinance of his native town of Soliers, which, however, was 
taken and fa eked, and he loft in it his houfe and property. Aries held 
the imperialists at bay, while the French, under the conftable Montmo- 
rency, eftablifhed themfelves firmly at Avignon. At length difeafe gained 
poffefhon of Antonio de Leyva himfelf, and the emperor, who had been 
making an unfuccefsful demonstration againft Marfeilles, came to him in 
his ficknefs. The firft lines of the defcription of this interview, will ferve 
as a Specimen of the language of the French macaronics : — 

Se d de Marjeila braggantl quando retornat, 

Fort male contentus t quando rjpolfat eum, 
Antomum Lcvam trobwult forte maladum, 

Cui mors terribilis trifle cubile parat. 

T T Ethica 

322 Hijiory of Caricature and Grot ef que 

Ethica torquet eum per coftas, ct dolor mgens : 

Cum male res vadit, vivere f achat eum. 
Dixerunt medici, Jperanfa eft nulla falutis ; 

Ethicus in tefta vivere pauca poteft. 
A nte juam mortem voluit parlare per horam 

Imperelatori, conjillumque dare. 
Scis, Ccefar, ftricle noftri groppantur amores, 

Namque duas animas corpus utrumque tenet, 
Heu ! fuge Provenfam for tern, fuge littus amarum^ 

Fac tibi non noceat gloria tanta modo. 


But ivhen he returns from boafting Marfeilles, 

Very ill content, that foe had repuljed him, 
He found Antonio de Leyva -very ill, 

For ivhom terrible death is preparing a forroivful bed. 
Heclic fever tortures him in the ribs, and great pain ,• 

Since things are going ill, he is weary of life. 
Before his death he ivijhed to /peak an hour 

To the emperor, and to give him counfel. 
" You knoiv, Ctefar, our affections are clofely bound together, 

For either body holds the two fouls, 
Alas I fly Provence the ftrong, fly the bitter jbore, 

Take care that your great glory prove not an injury to you.'" 

Thus Leyva goes on to perfuade the emperor to abandon his enterprife, 
and then dies. Arena exults over his death, and over the emperor's 
grief for his lofs, and then proceeds to defcribe the difaftrous retreat of the 
imperial army, and the glory of France in her king. 

Antonius de Arena wrote with vigour and humour, but his verfes are 
tame in comparifon with his model, Folengo. The tafte for macaronic 
verfe never took ftrong root in France, and the few obfeure writers who 
attempted to fhine in that kind of compofition are now forgotten, except 
by the laborious bibliographer. One named Jean Germain, wrote a 
macaronic hiftory of the invafion of Provence by the imperialifts in rivalry 
of Arenas. I will not follow the tafte for this clafs of burlefque compofi- 
tion into Spain or Germany, but merely add that it was not adopted in 
England until the beginning of the feventeenth century, when feveral 
authors employed it at about the fame time. The moft perfect example 
of thefe early Englim macaronics is the " Polemo-Middiana," i.e. battle of 


in Literature and Art. 323 

the dunghill, by the talented and elegant-minded Drummond of Haw- 
thornden. We may take a fingle example of the Englifh macaronic 
from this poem, which will not need an Englifh translation. One of the 
female characters in the dunghill war, calls, among others, to her aid — 

Hunc qui dirtiferas terjit cum di/bclouty dijhras, 
Hunc qui gruelias Jci-vit bene lickere plettas, 
Et faltpannifumos, et ividebricatos Ji/heros, 
Hellaofque etiam falteros duxit ab antris, 
Coalkeughos nigri girnantes more di'uelli ; 
Lifeguardamque Jibi favas vocat improba lajjas, 
Maggyam magis doclam milkare covceas, 
Et doclam fuepare Jlouras, et Jiernere beddas, 
Sluaque ncvit fpinnare, et longas ducere threddas ; 
Nanfyam, claves bene quae keepaverat omnes, 
S^iiaque lanam car dare Jolet greafy-fingria Betty. 

Perhaps before this was written, the eccentric Thomas Coryat had 
publifhed in the volume of his Crudities, printed in 1611, a fhort piece of 
verfe, which is perfect in its macaronic ftyle, but in which Italian and 
other foreign words are introduced, as well "as Englifh. The celebrated 
comedy of " Ignoramus," compofed by George Ruggle in 1615, may alfo be 
mentioned as containing many excellent examples of Englifh macaronics. 
While Italy was giving birth to macaronic verfe, the fatire upon the 
ignorance and bigotry of the clergy was taking another form in Germany, 
which arofe from fome occurrences which it will be neceflary to relate. 
In the midft of the violent religious agitation at the beginning of the 
fixteenth century in Germany, there lived a German Jew named Pfeffer- 
corn, who embraced Chriftianity, and to mow his zeal for his new faith, 
he obtained from the emperor an edi6t ordering the Talmud and all the 
Jewifh writings which were contrary to the Chriftian faith to be burnt. 
There lived at the fame time a fcholar of diflinction, and of more liberal 
views than moft of the fcholaltics of his time, named John Reuchlin. 
He was a relative of Melandhon, and was fecretary to the palfgrave, 
who was tolerant like himfelf. The Jews, as might be expected, 
were unwilling to give up their books to be burnt, and Reuchlin 
wrote in their defence, under the affumed name of Capnion, which is a 


3 24 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

Hebrew tranflation of his own name of Reuchlin, meaning fmoke, and 
urged that it was better to refute the books in queftion than to burn 
them. The converted Pfeffercorn replied in a book entitled " Speculum 
Manuale," in anfwer to which Reuchlin wrote his " Speculum Ocu- 
lare." The controverfy had already provoked much bigoted ill-feeling 
againft Reuchlin. The learned doctors of the univerfity of Cologne 
efpoufed the caufe of Pfeffercorn, and the principal of the univerfity, 
named in Latin Ortuinus Gratius, fupported by the Sorbonne in Paris, 
lent himfelf to be the violent organ of the intolerant party. Hard prefTed 
by his bigoted opponents, Reuchlin found good allies, but one of the bell 
of thefe was a brave baron named Ulric von Hutten, of an old and noble 
family, born in 1488 in the caftle of Staeckelberg, in Franconia. He had 
iludied in the fchools at Fulda, Cologne, and Frankfort on the Oder, and 
diftinguifhed himfelf fo much as a fcholar, that he obtained the degree of 
Mailer of Arts before the ufual age. But Ulric poffefTed an adventurous 
and chivalrous fpirit, which led him to embrace the profeflion of a foldier, 
and he ferved in the wars in Italy, where he was diftinguifhed by his 
bravery. He was at Rome in iji6, and defended Reuchlin againft the 
Dominicans. The fame year appeared the firft edition of that marvellous 
book, the "Epistolae Obfcurorum Virorum," one of the moft remarkable 
fatires that the world has yet feen. It is believed that this book came 
entirely from the pen of Ulric von Hutten j and the notion that Reuchlin 
himfelf, or any others of his friends, had a {hare in it appears to be 
without foundation. Ulric was in the following year made poet-Iaureat. 
Neverthelefs, this book greatly incenfed the monks againft him, and he 
was often threatened with aflailination. Yet he boldly advocated the caufe 
and embraced the opinions of Luther, and was one of the ftaunch fup- 
porters of Lutheranifm. After a very turbulent life, Ulric von Hutten 
died in the Auguft of the year 1523. 

The " Epiftolae Obfcurorum Virorum," or letters of obfeure men, are 
luppoied to be addrefTed to Ortuinus Gratius, mentioned above, by various 
individuals, lbme his fcholars, others his friends, but all belonging to the 
bigoted party oppofed to Reuchlin, and they were defigned to throw 
ridicule on the ignorance, bigotry, and immorality of the clergy of the 


in Literature and Art. 325 

Romifh church. The old fcholaflic learning had become debafed into a 
heavy and barbarous fyftem of theology, literary compofition confifted in 
writing a no lefs barbarous Latin, and even the few claffical writers who 
were admitted into the fchools, were explained and commented upon in a 
ftrange half-theological fafhion. Thefe old fcholaftics were bitterly oppofed 
to the new learning, which had taken root in Italy, and was fpreading 
abroad, and they fpoke contemptuoufly of it as " fecular." The letters 
of the obfcure individuals relate chiefly to the difpute between Reuchlin 
and Pfeffercorn, to the rivalry between the old fcholarfhip and the new, 
and to the low licentious lives of the theologifts j and they are written in 
a ftyle of Latin which is intended for a parody on that of the latter, and 
which clofely refembles that which we call " dog-Latin."* They are 
full of wit and humour of the mod exquifite defcription, but they too 
often defcend into details, treated in terms which can only be excufed 
by the coarfe and licentious character of the age. The literary and 
fcientific queftions difcuffed in thefe letters are often very droll. The firlt 
in order of the correfpondents of Ortuinus Gratius, who boafls of the 
rather formidable name, Thomas Langfchneiderius, and addrefTes matter 
Ortuinus as "poet, orator, philofopher, and theologilt, and more if he 
would," propounds to him a difficult queftion : — 

" There was here one day an Aristotelian dinner, and doctors, licenciates, and 
masters too, were very jovial, and I was there too, and we drank at the first course 
three draughts of Malmsey, . . • and then we had six dishes of flesh and chickens and 
capons, and one of fish, and as we passed from one dish to another, we continually 
drunk wine of Kotzburg and the Rhine, and ale of Embeck, and Thurgen, and 
Neuburg. And the masters were well satisfied, and said that the new masters had 
acquitted themselves well and with great honour. Then the masters in their 
hilarity began to talk learnedly on great questions, and one asked whether it were 


* This style differs entirely from the macaronic. It consists merely in using 
the words of the Latin language with the forms and construction of the vulgar 
tongue, as illustrated by the directions of the professor who, lecturing in the schools, 
was interrupted by the entrance of a dog, and shouted out to the doorkeeper, Verte 
canem ex y meaning thereby that he should " turn the dog out." It was perhaps from 
this, or some similar occurrence, that this barbarous Latin gained the name of 
dog- Latin. The French call it Latin de cuifine. 

326 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

correct to say magijler nojlrandus, or nojler magijlrandus, for a person fit to be made doctor 
in theology. . . . And immediately Master Warmsemmel, who is a subtle Scotisr, 
and has been master eighteen years, and was in his time twice rejected and thrice 
delayed for the degree of master, and he went on offering himself, until he was pro- 
moted for the honour of the university, . . . spoke, and held that we should say nofter 
magijlrandus. . . . Then Master Andreas Delitsch, who is very subtle, and half poet, 
half artist (i.e. one who professed in the faculty of arts), physician, and jurist 5 and 
now he reads ordinarily * Ovid on the Metamorphoses,' and expounds all the 
fables allegorically and literally, and I was his hearer, because he expounds very 
fundamentally, and he also reads at home Quintillian and Juvencus, and he held 
the opposite to Master Warmsemmel, and said that we ought to say magijler 
nojlrandus. For as there is a difference between magijler nofter and nojler magijler , so 
also there is a difference between magijler nojlrandus and nojler magijlrandus ; for a doctor 
in theology is called magijler nojler, and it is one word, but nojler magijler are two 
words, and it is taken for any master; and he quoted Horace in support of this. 
Then the masters much admired his subtlety, and one drank to him a cup of Neu- 
burg ale. And he said, * I will wait, but spare me,' and touched his hat, and 
laughed heartily, and drank to Master Warmsemmel, and said, ' There, master, 
don't think I am an enemy,' and he drank it off at one draught, and Master Warm- 
semmel replied to him with a strong draught. And the masters were all merry till 
the bell rang for Vespers." 

Mailer Ortuin is preffed for his judgment on this weighty queftion. A 
fimilar fcene defcribed in another letter ends lefs peacefully. The cor- 
refpondent on this occafion is Magifter Bornharddus Plumilegus, who 
addreffes Ortuinus Gratius as follows : — 

" Wretched is the mouse which has only one hole for a refuge ! So also I may 
say of myself, most venerable sir, for I should be poor if I had only one friend, and 
when that one should fail me, then I should not have another to treat me with kind- 
ness. As is the case now with a certain poet here, who is called George Sibutus, 
and he is one of the secular poets, and reads publicly in poetry, and is in other 
respects a good fellow (bonus Jocius) , But as you know these poets, when they are 
not theologists like you, will always reprehend others, and despise the theologists. 
And once in a drinking party in his house, when we were drinking Thurgen ale, and 
sat until the hour of tierce, and I was moderately drunk, because that ale rose into 
my head, then there was one who was not before friendly with me, and I drank to him 
half a cup, and he accepted it. But afterwards he would not return the compliment. 
And thrice I cautioned him, and he would not reply, but sat in silence and said 
nothing. Then I thought to myself, Behold this man treats thee with contempt, 
and is proud, and always wants to confound you. And I was stirred in my anger, 
and took the cup, and threw it at his head. Then that poet was angry at me, and 
said that I had caused a disturbance in his house, and said I should go out of his 
house in the devil's name. Then I replied, 'What matter is it if you are my 

enemy ? 

in Literature and Art. 327 

enemy ? 1 have had as bad enemies as you, and yet I have stood in spite of them. 
What matters it if you are a poet ? I have other poets who are my friends, and they 
are quite as good as you, ego bene merdarem in <ueftram poetriam ! Do you think I am a 
fool, or that I was born under a tree like apples ?' Then he called me an ass, and 
said that I never saw a poet. And I said, 'You are an ass in your skin, I have 
seen many more poets than you. 1 And I spoke of you. . . . Wherefore I ask you 
very earnestly to write me one piece of verse, and then I will show it to this poet 
and others, and I will boast that you are my friend, and you are a much better 
poet than he.' 1 

The war againfl the fecular poets, or advocates of the new learning, 
is kept up with fpirit through this ludicrous correfpondence. One corre- 
fpondent prefTes Ortuinus Gratius to "write to me whether it be neceffary 
for eternal falvation that fchclars learn grammar from the fecular poets, 
fuch as Virgil, Tullius, Pliny, and others 3 for," he adds, " it feems to 
me that this is not a good method of ftudying." "As I have often 
written to you," fays another, " I am grieved that this ribaldry (i/ia 
ribaldria), namely, the faculty of poetry, becomes common, and is fpread 
through all provinces and regions. In my time there was only one poet, 
who was called Samuel ; and now, in this city alone, there are at leaft 
twenty, and they vex us all who hold with the ancients. Lately I 
thoroughly defeated one, who faid that fcholaris does not fignify a perfon 
who goes to the fchool for the purpofe of learning ; and I faid, ' Afis ! 
will you correct the holy doctor who expounded this word ? " The new 
learning was, of courfe, identified with the fupporters of Reuchlin. " It 
is faid here," continues the fame correfpondent, " that all the poets will 
fide with doctor Reuchlin againfi the theologians. I with all the poets 
were in the place where pepper grows, that they might let us go in 
peace ! " 

Mafler William Lamp, "mailer of arts," fends to Mailer Ortuinus 
Gratius, a narrative of his adventures in a journey from Cologne to Rome. 
Firft he went to Mayence, where his indignation was moved by the open 
manner in which people fpoke in favour of Reuchlin, and when he 
hazarded a contrary opinion, he was only laughed at, but he held his 
tongue, becaufe his opponents all carried arms and looked fierce. " One 
of them is a count, and is a long man, and has white hair; and they fay 
that he takes a man in armour in his hand, and throws him to the ground, 


and he has a fword as long as a giant; when I faw him, then I held my 
tongue." At Worms, he found things no better, for the "doctors " fpoke 
bitterly againft the theologians, and when he attempted to expoftulate, he 
got foul words as well as threats, a learned doctor in medicine affirming 
" quod merdaret fuper nos omnes." On leaving Worms, Lamp and his 
companion, another theologift, fell in with plunderers who made them pay 
two florins to drink, " and I faid occulte, Drink what may the devil blefs to 
you!" Subfequently they fell into low amours at country inns, which 
are defcribed coarfely, and then they reached Infprucken, where they 
found the emperor, and his court and army, with whofe manners and 
proceedings Magifter Lamp became forely difgufted. I pafs over other 
adventures till they reach Mantua, the birthplace of Virgil, and of a late 
mediaeval Latin poet, named from it Baptifta Mantuanus. Lamp, in his 
hoftile fpirit towards the " fecular poets," proceeds, — " And my companion 
faid, ' Here Virgil was born.' I replied, ' What do I care for that pagan ? 
We will go to the Carmelites, and fee Baptifta Mantuanus, who is twice 
as good as Virgil, as I have heard full ten times from Ortuinus ; ' and I 
told him how you once reprehended Donatus, when he fays, ' Virgil was 
the moft learned of poets, and the beftj' and you faid, ' If Donatus were 
here, I would tell him to his face that he lies, for Baptifta Mantuanus is 
above Virgil.' And when we came to the monaftery of the Carmelites, 
we were told that Baptifta Mantuanus was dead ; then I faid, ' May he 
reft in peace !"' They continued their journey by Bologna, where they 
found the inquifitor Jacob de Hochftraten, and Florence, to Siena. "After 
this there are fmall towns, and one is called Monte-flafcon, where we 
drunk excellent wine, fuch as I never drank in my life. And I aiked the 
hoft what that wine is called, and he replied that it is lachryma Chrifti. 
Then faid my companion, '1 wifh Chrift would cry in our country!' 
And fo we drank a good bout, and two days after we entered Rome." 

In the courfe of thefe letters the theologifts, the poets efpecially, the 
character of the clergy, and particularly Reuchlin and PfefFercorn, afford 
continual fubjects for difpute and pleafantry. The laft mentioned indivi- 
dual, in the opinion ot fome, had merited hanging for theft, and it was 
pretended that the Jews had expelled him from their fociety for his 


wicked courfes. One argued that all Jews ftink, and as it was well 

known that PfefFercorn continued to flink like a Jew, it was quite evident 

that he could not be a good Chriftian. Some of Ortuinus's correfpondents 

confult him on difficult theological queftions. Here is an example in a 

letter from one Henricus Schaffmulius, another of his fcholars who had 

made the journey to Rome : — 

" Since, before I journeyed to the Court, you said to me that I am to write 
often to you, and that sometimes I am to send you any theological questions, which 
you will solve for me better than the courtiers of Rome, therefore now I ask your 
mastership what you hold as to the case when any one on a Friday, or any other 
fast day, eats an egg, and there is a chicken inside. Because the other day we sat 
in a tavern in the Campo-flore, and made a collation, and eat eggs, and I, opening 
an egg, saw that there was a young chicken in it, which I showed to my companion, 
and then he said, * Eat it quickly before the host sees it, for if he sees it, then you 
will be obliged to give a carlino or a julio for a hen, because it is the custom here 
that, when the host places anything on the table, you must pay for it, for they will 
not take it back. And when he sees there is a young hen in the egg, he will say, 
Pay me for the hen, because he reckons a small one the same as a large one.' And 
I immediately sucked up the egg, and with it the chicken, and afterwards I bethought 
me that it was Friday, and I said to my companion. 'You have caused me to com- 
mit a mortal sin, in eating flesh on Friday.' And he said that it is not a mortal 
sin, nor even a venial sin, because that embryo of a chicken is not reckoned other 
than an egg till it is born ; and he told me that it is as in cheeses, in which there 
are sometimes worms, and in cherries, and fresh peas and beans, yet they are eaten 
on Fridays, and also in the vigils of the apostles. But the hosts are such rogues, 
that they say that they are flesh, that they may have more money. Then I went 
away, and thought about it. And, per Deum ! Magister Ortuinus, I am much 
troubled, and I know not how I ought to rule myself. If I went to ask advice of a 
courtier [of the papal court], I know that they have not good consciences. It 
seems to me that these young hens in the eggs are flesh, because the matter is already 
formed and figured in members and bodies of an animal, and it has life ; it is other- 
wise with worms in cheeses and other things, because worms are reputed for fishes, 
as I have heard from a physician, who is a very good naturalist. Therefore I ask 
you very earnestly, that you will give me your reply on this question. Because if you 
hold that it is a mortal sin, then I will purchase an absolution here, before I return 
to Germany. Also you must know that our master Jacobus de Hochstraten has 
obtained a thousand florins from the bank, and I think that with these he will gain 
his cause, and the devil confound that John Reuchlin, and the other poets and 
jurists, because they will be against the church of God, that is, against the theologists, 
in whom is founded the church, as Christ said : Thou art Peter, and upon this 
rock I will build my church. And so I commend you to the Lord God. Fare- 
well. Given from the city of Rome. 1 ' 

While in Italy macaronic literature was reaching its greateft perfection, 

u u there 

there arofe in the very centre of France a man of great original genius, 
who was foon to altonim the world by a new form of fatire, more 
grotefque and more comprehenfive than anything that had been feen 
before. Teofilo Folengo may fairly be confidered as the precurfor of 
Rabelais, who appears to have taken the Italian fatirift as his model. 
What we know of the life of Francois Rabelais is rather obfcure at bell, 
and is in fome parts no doabt fabulous. He was born at Chinon in 
Touraine, either in 1483 or in 1487, for this feems to be a difputed point, 
and fome doubt has been thrown on the trade or profeflion of his father, 
but the moft generally received opinion is that he was an apothecary. 
He is faid to have fhown from his youth a difpofition more inclined to 
gaiety than to ferious purfuits, yet at an early age he had made great 
proficiency in learning, and is faid to have acquired a very fufncient 
knowledge of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, two of which, at leaf!, were 
not popular among the popilh clergy, and not only of the modern lan- 
guages and literature of Italy, Germany, and Spain, but even of Arabic. 
Probably this eftimate of his acquirements in learning is rather exaggerated. 
It is not quite clear where the young Rabelais gained all this knowledge, 
for he is faid to have been educated in convents and among monks, and 
to have become at a rather early age a Francifcan friar in the convent of 
Fontenai-le-Compte, in Lower Poitou, where he became an object of 
jealoufy and ill-feeling to the other friars by his fuperior acquirements. 
It was a tradition, at leaft, that the conduct of Rabelais was not very ftrictly 
conventual, and that he had fo far fhown his contempt for monaftic rule, 
and for the bigotry of the RomihH church, that he was condemned to the 
prifon of his monaftery, upon a diet of bread and water, which, according 
to common report, was very uncongenial with the taftes of this jovial 
friar. Out of this difficulty he is faid to have been helped by his friend 
the bithop of Maillezais, who obtained for him the pope's licence to 
change the order of St. Francis for the much more eafy and liberal order 
of St. Benedict, and he became a member of the bilhop's own chapter in 
the abbey of Maillezais. His unfteady temper, however, was not long 
fttisfied with this retreat, which he left, and, laying afide the regular 
habit, affumed that of a fecular prieft. In this character he wandered for 


in Literature and Art. 3 3 J 

fome time., and then fettled at Montpellier, where he took a degree as 
do6lor in medicine, and pra&ifed for fome time with credit. There he 
publifhed in 1532 a translation of fome works of Hippocrates and Galen, 
which he dedicated to his friend the bifhop of Maillezais. The circum- 
stances under which he left Montpellier are not known, but he is fup- 
pofed to have gone to Paris upon fome bufinefs of the university, and to 
have remained there. He found there a ftaunch friend in Jean de 
Bellay, bifhop of Paris, who foon afterwards was raifed to the rank of 
cardinal. When the cardinal de Bellay went as ambaffador to Rome 
from the court of France, Rabelais accompanied him, it is faid in the 
character of his private medical advifer, but during his flay in the 
metropolis of Chriftendom, as Chriftendom was underftood in thofe days 
by the Romifh church, Rabelais obtained, on the 17th of January, 1536, 
the papal abfolution for all his tranfgreflions, and licence to return to 
Maillezais, and pracl:ife medicine there and elfewhere as an act of charity. 
Thus he became again a Benedictine monk. He, however, changed 
again, and became a fecular canon, and finally fettled down as the cure 
of Meudon, near Paris, with which he alfo held a fair number of ecclefi- 
aftical benefices. Rabelais died in 1553, according to fome in a very 
religious manner, but others have given flrange accounts of his laft 
moments, reprefenting that, even when dying, he converfed in the fame 
fpirit of mockery, not only of Romifh forms and ceremonies, but of all 
religions whatever, which was afcribed to him during his life, and which 
are but too openly manifested in the extraordinary fatirical romance 
which has given fo much celebrity to his name. 

During the greater part of his life, Rabelais was expofed to troubles 
and perfecutions. He was faved from the intrigues of the monks by the 
friendly influence of popes and cardinals 3 and the favour of two fucceSIive 
kings, Francois I. and Henri II., protected him againft the Still more 
dangerous hostility of the Sorbonne and the parliament of Paris. This 
high protection has been advanced as a reafon for rejecting the anecdotes 
and accounts which have been commonly received relating to the per- 
fonal character of Rabelais, and his irregularities may poffibly have been 
exaggerated by the hatred which he had drawn upon himfelf by his 


332 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

writings. But nobody, I think, who knows the character of fociety at 
that time, who compares what we know of the lives of the other fatirifts, 
and who has read the hiftory of Gargantua and Pantagruel, will conh'der 
fuch an argument of much weight againft the deliberate ftatements of 
thofe who were his contemporaries, or be inclined to doubt that the 
writer of this hiflory was a man of jovial character, who loved a good 
bottle and a broad joke, and perhaps other things that were equally 
objectionable. His books prefent a fort of wild riotous orgy, without 
much order or plan, except the mere outline of the ftory, in which is dif- 
played an extraordinary extent of reading in all claries of literature, from 
the moll learned to the moil popular, with a wonderful command of lan- 
guage, great imagination, and fome. poetry, intermixed with a per- 
haps larger amount of downright obfcene ribaldry, than can be found in 
the macaronics of Folengo, in the " Epiftolae Obfcurorum Virorum," or 
in the works of any of the other fatirifts who had preceded him, or were 
his contemporaries. It is a broad caricature, poor enough in its ftory, but 
enriched with details, which are brilliant with imagery, though generally 
coarfe, and which are made the occafions for turning to ridicule everything 
that exifted. The five books of this romance were publilhed feparately 
and at different periods, apparently without any fixed intention of con- 
tinuing them. The earlier editions of the firft part were publifhed 
without date, but the earlielt editions with dates belong to the year 1535, 
when it was feveral times reprinted. It appeared as the life of Gar- 
gantua. This hero is fuppofed to have flourifhed in the firft half of the 
fifteenth century, and to have been the fon of Grandgoufier, king of 
Utopia, a country which lay fomewhere in the direction of Chinon, a 
prince of an ancient dynafty, but a jovial fellow, who loved good eating 
and drinking better than anything elfe. Grandgoufier married Garga- 
melle, daughter of the king of the Parpaillos, who became the mother of 
Gargantua. The firft chapters relate rather minutely how the child was 
born, and came out at its mother's ear, why it was called Gargantua, how 
it was dreifed and treated in infancy, what were its amufements and 
difpofition, and how Gargantua was put to learning under the fophifts, 
and made no progrefs. Thereupon Grandgoufier fent his fon to Paris, to 


in Literature and Art. 


feek inflru<5tion there, and he proceeds thither mounted on an immenfe 
mare, which had been fent as a prefent by the king of Numidia — it mull 
be borne in mind that the royal race of Utopia were all giants. At 
Paris the populace alTembled tumultuoufly to gratify their curiofity in 
looking at this new fcholar ; but Gargantua, befides treating them in a 
very contemptuous manner, carried off the great bells of Notre Dame to 
fufpend at the neck of his mare. Great was the indignation caufed by 
this theft. " All the city was rifen up in fedition, they being, as you know, 
upon any flight occafions, fo ready to uproars and infurreclions, that foreign 
nations wonder at the patience of the kings of France, who do not by 
good juftice reftrain them from fuch tumultuous courfes." The citizens 
take counfel, and refolve on fending one of the great orators of the 
univerfity, Mafler Janotus de Bragmardo, to expostulate with Gargantua, 
and obtain the relloration of the bells. The fpeech which this worthy 
addreffes to Gargantua, in fulfilment of his million, is an amufing parody 
on the pedantic ftyle of Pariflan oratory. The bells, however, are re- 
covered, and Gargantua, under ikilful inftruclors, purfues his fludies with 
credit, until he is fuddenly called home by a letter from his father. In 
facl, Grandgoufier was fuddenly involved in a war with his neighbour 
Picrocole, king of Lerne, caufed by a quarrel about cakes between fome 
cake-makers of Lerne and Grandgoufier's fhepherds, in confequence of 
which Picrocole had invaded the dominions of Grandgoufier, and was 
plundering and ravaging them. His warlike humour is flirred up by the 
counfels of his three lieutenants, who perfuade him that he is going to 
become a great conqueror, and that they will make him mafler of the 
whole world. It is not difficult to fee, in the circumflances of the time, 
the general aim of the fatire contained in the hiflory of this war. It ends 
in the entire defeat and difappearance of king Picrocole. A fenfual and 
jovial monk named brother Jean des Entommeurs, who has firfl diflin- 
guifhed himfelf by his prowefs and flrength in defending his own abbey 
againfl the invaders, contributes largely to the viclory gained by Gargantua 
againfl his father's enemies, and Gargantua rewards him by founding for 
him that pleafant abbey of Theleme, a grand eflablifhment, flored with 
everything which could contribute to terreflrial happinefs, from which 


334 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotejque 

all hypocrites and bigots were to be excluded, and the rule of which 
was comprifed in the four fimple words, " Do as you like." 

Such is the hiftory of Gargantua, which was afterwards formed by 
Rabelais into the firft. book of his great comic romance. It was pub- 
lifhed anonymoufly, the author merely defcribing himfelf as " Pabftracteur 
de quinte effence j " but he afterwards adopted the pfeudonyme of 
Alcofribas Nalier, which is merely an anagram of his own name, Francois 
Rabelais. A very improbable ftory has been handed down to us relating 
to this book. It is pretended that, having publifhed a book of medical 
fcience which had no fale, and the publiiher complaining that he had 
loft money by it, Rabelais promifed to make amends for his lofs, and 
immediately wrote the hiftory of Gargantua, by which the fame book- 
feller made his fortune. There can be no doubt that this remarkable 
fatire had a deeper origin than any cafual accident like this ; but it was 
exactly fuited to the tafte and temper of the age. It was quite original 
in its form and ftyle, and it met with immediate and great fuccefs. 
Numerous editions followed each other rapidly, and its author, encouraged 
by its popularity, very foon afterwards produced a fecond romance, in 
continuation, to which he gave the title of Pantagruel. The caricature 
in this fecond romance is bolder even than in the firft, the humour 
broader, and the fatire more pungent. Grandgoufier has difappeared 
from the fcene, and his fon, Gargantua, is king, and has a fon named 
Pantagruel, whofe kingdom is that of the Dipfodes. The firft part 
of this new romance is occupied chiefly with Pantagruel's youth and 
education, and is a fatire on the univerfity and on the lawyers, in which 
the parodies on their ftyle of pleading as then practifed is admirable. In 
the latter part, Pantagruel, like his father Gargantua, is engaged in great 
wars. It was perhaps the continued fuccefs of this new production of his 
pen which led Rabelais to go on with it, and form the defign of making 
thefe two books part only of a more extennve romance. During his 
ftudies in Paris, Pantagruel has made the acquaintance of a lingular 
individual named Panurge, who becomes his attached friend and conftant 
companion, holding fomewhat the pofition of brother Jean in the firft 
book, but far more crafty and verfatile. The whole fubjecl: of the third 



Literature and Art. 335 

book arifes out of Pantagreul's defire to marry, and its various amufing 
epifodes defcribe the different expedients which, at the mggeftion of 
Panurge, he adopts to arrive at a folution of the queflion whether his 
marriage would be fortunate or not. 

In publifhing his fourth book, Rabelais complains that his writings 
had raifed him enemies, and that he was accufed of having at lead written 
herely. In fact, he had bitterly provoked both the monks and the univerfity 
and parliament 5 and, as the increafing reaction of Pvomanifm in France gave 
more power of perfecution to the two latter, he was not writing without 
fome degree of danger, yet the fatire of each fucceffive book became 
bolder and more direct. The fifth, which was left unfinifhed at his death, 
and which was publifhed potmumoufly, was the moll fevere of them all. 
The character of Gargantua, indeed, was almofr. forgotten in that of Pan- 
tagruel, and Pantagruelifm became an accepted name for the fort of gay, 
recklefs fatire of which he was looked upon as the model. He defcribed 
it himfelf as a certaine gaiete d 'efprit corifite en mepris des chofes fortuites, 
in fact, neither Romanifm nor Proteti^ntifm, but fimply a jovial kind of 
Epicurianifm. All the gay wits of v- time afpired to be Plantagruelifts, 
and the remainder of the fixteenth century abounded in wretched imita- 
tions of the ftyle of Rabelais, which are now configned as mere rarities to 
the fhelves of the bibliophilift. 

Among the dangers which began to threaten them in France in the 
earlier part of the fixteenth century, liberal opinions found an afylum at 
the court of a princefs who was equally diftinguifhed by her beauty, by 
her talents and noble fentiments, and by her accompliihments. Mar- 
guerite d'Angouleme, queen of Navarre, was the only filler of Francois I., 
who was her junior by two years, and was affectionately attached to her. 
She was born on the nth of April, 1492. She had married, firfl, that 
unfortunate duke d'Alencon, whofe mifconduct at Pavia was the caufe of 
the difaftrous defeat of the French, and the captivity of their king. The 
duke died, it was faid of grief at his misfortune, in 1525 ; and two years 
afterwards, on the 24th of January, 1527, fhe married Henri d'Albret, 
king of Navarre. Their daughter, Jeanne d'Albret, carried this petty 
royalty to the houfe of Bourbon, and was the mother of Henri IV. 


Marguerite held her court in true princely manner in the caflle of 
Pau or at Nerac, and me loved to furround herfelf with a circle of men 
remarkable for their character and talents, and ladies diftinguifhed by 
beauty and accomplishments, which made it rival in brilliance even that 
of her brother Francois. She placed neareft to her perfon, under the 
character of her valets-de-chambre, the principal poets and beaux- efprits 
of her time, fuch as Clement Marot, Bonaventure des Periers, Claude 
Gruget, Antoine du Moulin, and Jean de la Haye, and admitted them to 
fuch a tender familiarity of intercourfe, as to excite the jealoufy of the 
king her hufband, from whofe ill-treatment fhe was only protected by 
her brother's interference. The poets called her chamber a "veritable 
ParnaiTus." Hers was certainly a great mind, greedy of knowledge, 
diffatisfjed with what was, and eager for novelties, and therefore lhe 
encouraged all who fought for them. It was in this fpirit, combined 
Math her earneft love for letters, that fhe threw her protection over both 
the fceptics and the religious reformers. At the beginning of the 
perfecutions, as early as 1523, fhe openly declared herfelf the advocate of 
the Proteftants. When Clement Marot was arretted by order of the 
Sorbonne and the Inquifitor on the charge of having eaten bacon in 
Lent, Marguerite caufed him to be liberated from prifon, in defiance of 
his perfecutors. Some of the purefl and ableft of the early French 
reformers, fuch as Rouffel and Le Fevre d'Etaples, and Calvin himfelf, 
found a fafe afylum from danger in her dominions. As might be 
fuppofed, the bigoted party were bitterly incenfed againfl the queen of 
Navarre, and were not backward in taking advantage of an opportunity 
for mowing it. A moral treatife, entitled " Le Miroir de l'Ame 
Pechereffe," of which Marguerite was the author, was condemned by 
the Sorbonne in 1533, but the king compelled the univerfity, in the 
perfon of its rector, Nicolas Cop, to difavow publicly the cenfure. This 
was followed by a flill greater act of infolence, for, at the inftigation of 
fome of the more bigoted papifis, the fcholars of the college of Navarre, 
in concert with their regents, performed a farce in which Marguerite was 
transformed into a fury of hell. Francois I., greatly indignant, fent his 
archers to arreft the offenders, who further provoked his anger by 


in Literature and Art, 337 

refiftance, and only obtained their pardon through the generous inter- 
ceffion of the princefs whom they had fo groflly infulted. 

Marguerite was herfelf a poetefs, and the loved above all things thofe 
gay, and feldom very delicate, ftories, the telling of which was at that 
time one of the favourite amufements of the evening, and one in which 
ihe was known to excel. Her poetical writings were collected and 
printed, under her own authority, in 1547, by her then valet- de-chamlre, 
Jean de la Haye, who dedicated the volume to her daughter. They are 
all graceful, and fome of them worthy of the befl poets of her time. The 
title of this collection was, punning upon her name, which means a pearl, 
" Marguerites de la Marguerite des princerTes, tres illuftre reyne de 
Navarre." Marguerite's ftories (nouvelles) were more celebrated than 
her verfes, and are faid to have been committed to writing under her 
own dictation. All the ladies of her court poiTeiTed copies of them in 
writing. It is underftood to have been her intention to form them into 
ten days' tales, of ten in each day, to as to refemble the "Decameron " 
of Boccaccio, but only eight days were rimmed at the time of her death, 
and the imperfect work was publilhed pofthumoufly by her valet-de- 
chamhre, Claude Gruget, under the title of " L'Heptameron, ou Hiftoire 
des Amants Fortunes." It is by far the beft collection of ftories of the 
fixteenth century. They are told charmingly, in language which is a 
perfect model of French compofition of that age, but they are all tales of 
gallantry fuch as could only be repeated in polite fociety in an age 
which was effentially licentious. Queen Marguerite died on the 2jft of 
December, 1549, and was buried in the cathedral of Pau. Her death 
was a fubject of regret to all that was good and all that was poetic, not 
only in France, but in Europe, which had been accuftomed to look upon 
her as the tenth Mufe and the fourth Grace : — 

Mufarum deama et Char'itum quarta, inclyta regum 
Et Joror et corijux, Marguaris ilia jacet. 

Before Marguerite's death, hei literary circle had been broken up by 
the hatred of religious perfecutors. Already, in 1536, the imprudent 
boldnels of Marot had rendered it impoflible to protect him any longer, 

x x and 

and he had been obliged to retire to a place of concealment, from 
whence he fometimes paid a ftealthy vifit to her court. His place of 
valet-de-chamlre was given to a man of talents, even more remarkable, 
and who fhared equally the perfonal eiteem of the queen of Navarre, 
Bonaventure des Periers. Marot's fucceffor paid a graceful compliment 
to him in a fhort poem entitled " L'Apologie de Marot abfent," 
publifhed in 1537. The earlier part of the year following witneffed the 
publication of the moll remarkable work of Bonaventure des Periers, the 
" Cymbalum Mundi," concerning the real character of which writers are 
Hill divided in opinion. In it Des Periers introduced a new form of 
fatire, imitated from the dialogues of Lucian. The book confifts of four 
dialogues, written in language which forms a model of French compo- 
fition, the perfonages introduced in them intended evidently to reprefent 
living characters, whofe names are concealed in anagrams and other 
devices, among whom was Clement Marot. It was the boldelt declara- 
tion of fcepticifm which had yet iffued from the Epicurean fchool repre- 
fented by Rabelais. The author meers at the Romifh church as an 
impoiture, ridicules the Proteflants as feekers after the philofopher's Hone, 
and fbows difrefpect to Chriftianity itfelf. Such a book could hardly be 
publiihed in Paris with impunity, yet it was printed there, fecretly, it is 
faid, by a well-known bookfeller, Jean Morin, in the Rue St. Jacques, 
and therefore in the immediate vicinity of the perfecuting Sorbonne. 
Private information had been given of the character of this work, poffibly 
by the printer himfelf or by one of his men, and on the 6th of March, 
1538, when it was on the eve of publication, the whole impreffion was 
feized at the printer's, and Morin himfelf was arrefred and thrown into 
prifon. He was treated rigoroufly, and is underftood to have efcaoed 
only by difa vowing all knowledge of the character of the book, and 
giving up the name of the author. The firft edition of the " Cymbalum 
Mundi " was burnt, and Bonaventure des Periers, alarmed by the 
perfonal dangers in which he was thus involved, retired from the court of 
the queen of Navarre, and took refuge in the city of Lyons, where liberal 
opinions at that time found a greater degree of tolerance than elfewhere. 
There he printed a fecond edition of the " Cymbalum Mundi," which 


in Literature and Art, 339 

alfo was burnt, and copies of either edition are now exceffively rare.* 
Bonaventure des Periers felt fo much the weight of the perfecution in 
which he had now involved himfelf, that, in the year 1539, as far as can 
be afcertained, he put an end to his own exiftence. This event caft a 
gloom over the court of the queen of Navarre, from which it feems never 
to have entirely recovered. The fchool of fcepticifm to which Des 
Periers belonged had now fallen into equal difcredit with Catholics and 
Proteftants, and the latter looked upon Marguerite herfelf, who had 
latterly conformed outwardly with Romanifm, as an apoftate from their 
caufe. Henri Eftienne, in his " Apologie pour Herodote," fpeaks of the 
" Cymbalum Mundi " as an infamous book. 

Bonaventure des Periers left behind him another work more amufing 
to us at the prefent day, and more chara&eriftic of the literary taftes of 
the court of Marguerite of Navarre. This is a collection of facetious 
ftories, which was publifhed feveral years after the death of its author, 
under the title of " Les Contes, ou Les Nouvelles Recreations et Joyeux 
Devis de Bonaventure des Periers." They have fome refemblance in 
flyle to the ftories of the Heptameron, but are fhorter, and rather more 
facetious, and are characlerifed by their bitter fpirit of fatire againft the 
monks and popifh clergy. Some of thefe ftories remind us, in their 
peculiar character and tone, of the " Epiftolae Obfcurorum Virorum," as, 
for an example, the following, which is given as an anecdote of the cure 
de Brou : — 

" This cure had a way of his own to chant the different offices of the church, 
and above all he disliked the way of saying the Passion in the manner it was ordi- 
narily said in churches, and he chanted it quite differently. For when our Lord 
said anything to the Jews, or to Pilate, he made him talk high and loud, so that 
everybody could hear him, and when it was the Jews or somebody else who spoke, 
he spoke so low that he could hardly be heard at all. It happened that a lady of 
rank and importance, on her way to Chateaudun, to keep there the festival of 
Easter, passed through Brou on Good Friday, about ten o'clock in the morning, 


* A cheap and convenient edition of the " Cymbalum Mundi," edited by the 
Bibliophile Jacob (Paul Lacroix), was published in Paris in 1841. I may here 
state that similar editions of the principal French satirists of the sixteenth century 
have been printed during the last twenty -five years. 

34° Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

and, wishing to hear service, she went to the church where the cur6 was officiating. 
When it came to the Passion, he said it in his own manner, and made the whole 
church ring again when he said S^uem quarith ? But when it came to the reply, 
Jefum Nazaretwm, he spoke as low as he possibly could. And in this manner he 
continued the Passion. The lady, who was very devout, and, for a woman, well 
informed in the holy scriptures, and attentive to the ecclesiastical ceremonies, felt 
scandalised at this mode of chanting, and wished she had never entered the church. 
She had a mind to speak to the cure, and tell him what she thought of it; and for 
this purpose sent for him to come to her after the service. When he came, she said 
to him,' Monsieur le Cure, I don't know where you learnt to officiate on a day like 
this, when the people ought to be all humility ; but to hear you perform the 
service, is enough to drive away anybody's devotion.'' ' How so, madame?' said 
the cure. ' How so?' said she, ' you have said a Passion contrary to all rules of 
decency. When our Lord speaks, you cry as if you were in the town-hall ; and 
when it is a Caiaphas, or Pilate, or the Jews, you speak softly like a young bride. 
Is this becoming in one like you ? are you fit to be a cure? If you had what you 
deserve, you would be turned out of your benefice, and then you would be made to 
know your fault !' When the cure had very attentively listened to her, he said, 
* Is this what you had to say to me, madame ? By my soul ! it is very true, what 
they say; and the truth is, that there are many people who talk of things which 
they do not understand. Madame, I believe that I know my office as well as 
another, and I beg all the world to know that God is as well served in this parish, 
according to its condition, as in any place within a hundred leagues of it. I know 
very well that the other cures chant the Passion quite differently; I could easily 
chant it like them if I would ; but they do not understand their business at all. I 
should like to know if it becomes those rogues of Jews to speak as loud as our 
Lord ! No, no, madame ; rest assured that in my parish it is my will that God be 
the master, and He shall be as long as I live ; and let the others do in their parishes 
according to their understanding.' " 

Another ftory, equally worthy of Ulric von Hutten, is fatirical enough 
on priefily pedantry : — 

" There was a priest of a village who was as proud as might be, because he had 
seen a little more than his Cato ; for he had read De Syntaxi, and his Faufie precor 
gelida [the first eclogue of Baptista Mantuanus]. And this made him set up his 
feathers, and talk very grand, using words that filled his mouth, in order to make 
people think him a great doctor. Even at confession, he made use of terms which 
astonished the poor people. One day he was confessing a poor working man, of 
whom he asked, *■ Here, now, my friend, tell me, art thou ambitious ?' The poor 
man said ' No,' thinking this was a word which belonged to great lords, and almost 
lepented of having come to confess to this priest ; for he had already heard that he 
was such a great clerk, and that he spoke so grandly, that nobody understood him, 
which he now knew by this word ambitious ; for although he might have heard it 
somewhere, yet- he did not know at all what it was. The priest went on to ask, 
c Art thou not a fornicator ?' ' No,' said the labourer, who understood as little as 


in Literature and Art. 341 

before. 'Art thou not a gourmand?' said the priest. ' No. - * 'Art thou not 
superbe \_proud']}'' 'No.' 'Art thou not iracund ?' 'No. 1 The priest seeing 
the man answer always 'No,' was somewhat surprised. ' Art thou not concupiscent?' 
' No.' ' And what art thou, then ?' said the priest. ' I am,' said he, 'a mason ; 
here is my trowel ! ' " 

At this time " Pantagruelifm " had mixed itfelf more or lefs largely in 
all the fatirical literature of France. It is very apparent in the writings 
of Bonaventure des Periers, and in a confiderable number of fatirical pub- 
lications which now iffued, many of them anonymoufly, or under the then 
fafhionable form of anagrams, from the prefs in France. Among thefe 
writers were a few who, though far inferior to Rabelais, may be confidered 
as not unequal to Des Periers himfelf. One of the moll: remarkable of 
thefe was a gentleman of Britany, Noel du Fail, lord of La Heriffaye, 
who was, like fo many of thefe fatirifts, a lawyer, and who died, apparently 
at an advanced age, at the end of 1585, or beginning of 1586. In his 
publications, according to the fafhion of that age, he concealed his name 
under an anagram, and called himfelf Leon Ladulfil (doubling the I in 
the name Fail). Noel du Fail has been called the ape of Rabelais, 
though the mere imitation is not very apparent. He publifhed (as far as 
has been afcertained), in 1548, his " Difcours d'aucuns propos ruftiques 
facetieux, et de finguliere recreation." This was followed immediately 
by a work entitled ' ( Baliverneries, ou Contes Nouveaux d'Eutrapel ;" but 
his laft, and molt celebrated book, the "Contes et Difcours d'Eutrapel," 
was not printed until 1586, after the death of its author. The writings 
of Noel du Fail are full of charming pictures of rural life in the fif- 
teenth century, and, though fufflciently free, they prefent lefs than moft 
fimilar books of that period of the coarfenefs of Rabelais. I cannot 
fay the fame of a book which is much more celebrated than either of 
thefe, and the hiftory of which is ftill enveloped in obfcurity. I mean the 
"Moyen de Parvenir." This book, which is full of wit and humour, 
but the licentioufnefs of which is carried to a degree which renders it 
unreadable at the prefent day, is now afcribed by bibliographers, in its 
prefent form, to Beroalde de Verville, a gentleman of a Proteftant family 
who had embraced Catholicifm, and obtained advancements in the church, 
and it was not printed until 1610, but it is fuppofed that in its prefent 


form it is only a revifion of an earlier compofition, perhaps even an 
unacknowledged work of Rabelais himfelf, which had been preferved in 
manufcript in Beroald's family. 

Pantagruelifm, or, if you like,, Rabelaifm, did not, during the fixteenth 
century, make much progrefs beyond the limits of France. In the 
Teutonic countries of Europe, and in England, the fceptical fentiment 
was fmall in comparifon with the religious feeling, and the only fatirical 
work at all refembling thofe we have been defcribing, was the " Utopia " 
of Sir Thomas More, a work comparatively fpiritlefs, and which produced 
a very flight fenfation. In Spain, the ftate of focial feeling was ftill lefs 
favourable to the writings of Rabelais, yet he had there a worthy and true 
reprefentative in the author of Don Quixote. It was only in the feven- 
teenth century that the works of Rabelais were tranilated into Englifh ; 
but we rauft not forget that our tatirifts of the laft century, fuch as Swift 
and Sterne, derived their infpiration chiefly from Rabelais, and from the 
Pantagrueliftic writers of the latter half of the fixteenth century. Thefe 
latter were mofl of them poor imitators of their original, and, like all 
poor imitators, purfued to exaggeration his leaft worthy chara&eriftics. 
There is ftill fome humour in the writings of Tabourot, the fieur des 
Accords, efpecially in his " Bigarrures," but the later productions, which 
appeared under fuch names as Brufcambille and Tabarin, fink into mere 
dull ribaldry. 

There had arifen, however, by the fide of this fatire which fmelt 
fomewhat too much of the tavern, another fatire, more ferious, which ftill 
contained a little of the ftyle of Rabelais. The French Proteftants at firft 
looked upon Rabelais as one of their towers of flrength, and embraced 
with gratitude the powerful protection they received from the graceful 
queen of Navarre ; but their gratitude failed them, when Marguerite, 
though fhe never ceafed to give them her protection, conformed out- 
wardly, from attachment to her brother, to the forms of the Catholic 
faith, and they rejected the fchool of Rabelais as a mere fchool of Atheifts. 
Among them arofe another fchool of fatire, a fort of branch from the 
other, which was reprefented in its infancy by the celebrated fcholar and 
printer, Henri Eftienne, better known among us as Henry Stephens. 


in Literature and Art. 343 

The remarkable book called an "Apologie pour Herodote," arofe out 
of an attack upon its writer by the Romanifts. Henri Eftienne, who was 
known as a ftaunch Proteftant, publiihed, at great expenfe, an edition ot 
Herodotus in Greek and Latin, and the zealous Catholics, out of fpite to 
the editor, decried his author, and fpoke of Herodotus as a mere collector 
of monftrous and incredible tales. Eftienne, in revenge, publiihed what, 
under the form of an apology for Herodotus, was really a violent attack on 
the Romifh church. His argument is that all hiftorians muft relate trans- 
actions which appear to many incredible, and that the events of modern 
times were much more incredible, if they were not known to be true, than 
anything which is recorded by the hiflorian of antiquity. After an intro- 
ductory dillertation on the light in which we ought to regard the fable of 
the Golden Age, and on the moral chara6ter of the ancient peoples, he 
goes on to fhow that their depravity was much lefs than that of the middle 
ages and of his own time, indeed of all ;~>^riods during which people were 
governed by the Church of Rome. Noi only did this diffolutenefs ot 
morals pervade lay fociety, but the clergy were more vicious even than 
the people, to whom they ought to ferve as an example. A large part 
of the book is filled with anecdotes of the immoral lives of the popiih 
clergy of the fixteenth century, and of their ignorance and bigotry; and 
he defcribes in detail the methods employed by the Romith church to 
keep the mafs of the people in ignorance, and to reprefs all attempts at 
inquiry. Out of all this, he fays, had rifen a fchool of atheifls and 
Scoffers, reprefented by Rabelais and Bonaventure des Periers, both of 
whom he mentions by name. 

As we approach the end of the fixteenth century, the ftruggle of 
parties became more political than religious, but not lefs bitter than 
before. The literature of the age of that celebrated " Ligue," which 
feemed at one time deftined to overthrow the ancient royalty of France, 
confined chiefly of libellous and abufive pamphlets, but in the midlt of 
them there appeared a work far fuperior to any purely political fatire 
which had yet been feen, and the fame of which has never paffed away. 
Its object was to turn to ridicule the meeting of the Eftates of France, 
convoked by the duke of Mayenne, as leader of the Ligue, and held at 


344 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

Paris on the 10th of February, 1503. The grand object of this meeting 
was to exclude Henri fV. from the throne ; and the Spanifh party pro- 
pofed to abolifh the Salic law, and proclaim the infanta of Spain queen 
of France. The French ligueurs propofed plans hardly lefs unpatriotic, 
and the duke of Mayenne, indignant at the fmall account made of his 
own perfonal pretentions, prorogued the meeting, and perfuaded the two 
parties to hold what proved a fruitlefs conference at Surefne. It was the 
meeting of the Eftates in Paris which gave rife 1 <^at celebrated Satyrc 
Menippee, of which it was faid, that it ferved the caule of Henri IV. as 
much as the battle of Ivry itfelf. 

This fatire originated among a party of friends, of men diltinguithed 
by learning, wit, and talent, though moft of their names are obfcure, who 
ufed to meet in an evening in the hofpitable houfe of one of them, 
Jacques Gillot, on the Quai des Orfevres in Paris, and there talk 
fatirically over the violence and infolence of the ligueurs. They all 
belonged either to the bar or to the univerfity, or to the church. Gillot 
himfelf, a Burgundian, born about the year 1560, had been a dean in the 
church of Langres, and afterwards canon of the Sainte Chapelle in Paris, 
and was at this time confeiller-clerc to the parliament of Paris. In 1589 
he was committed to the Baftille, but was foon afterwards liberated. 
Nicolas Rapin, one of his friends, was born in 1535, and was faid to have 
been the fon of a prieft, and therefore illegitimate. He was a lawyer, a 
poet, and a foldier, for he fought bravely in the ranks of Henri IV. at Ivry, 
and his devotion to that prince was fo well known, that he was banifhed 
from Paris by the ligueurs, but had returned thither before the meeting 
of the Eftates in 1593. Jean PafTerat, born in 1534, was alfo a poet, and 
a profelfor in the College Royal. Florent Chrftien, born at Orleans in 
1540, had been the tutor of Henri IV., and was well known as a man of 
found learning. The moft learned of the party was Pierre Pithou, born 
at Troyes in 1539, who had abjured Calvinifm to return to Romanifm, 
and who held a diftinguifhed pofition at the French bar. The laft of 
this little party of men of letters was a canon of Rouen named Pierre le 
Roy, a patriotic ecclefiafiic, who held the office of almoner to the cardinal 
de Bourbon. Tt was Le Roy who drew up the firft iketch of the 

" Satvre 

in Literature and Art. 345 

" Satyre Menippee," each of the others executed his part in the competi- 
tion, and Pithou finally revifed it. For feveral years this remarkable 
fatire circulated only fecretly, and in manufcript, and it was not printed 
until Henri IV. was eflablifhed on the throne. 

The fatire opens with an account of the virtues of the " Catholicon," 
or noftrum for curing all political difeafes, or the higuiero d'infierno, which 
had been fo effective in the hands of the Spaniards, who invented it. Some 
of thefe are extraordinary enough. If, we are told, the lieutenant of Don 
Philip " have fome of this Catholicon on his flags, he will enter without a 
blow into an enemy's country, and they will meet him with crolies and 
banners, legates and primates ; and though he ruin, ravage, uiurp, marlacre, 
and fack everything, and carry away ravilh, burn, and reduce everything 
to a defert, the people of the country will fay, ' Thefe are our friends, 
they are good Catholics ; they do it for our peace, and for cur mother 
holy church.' " "If an indolent king amufe himfelfwith refining this 
drug in his efcurial, let him write a word into Flanders to Father Ignatius, 
fealed with the Catholicon, he will find him a man who (falva con- 
fcientia) will affamnate his enemy whom he has not been able to conquer 
by arms in twenty years." This, of courie, is an allufion to the murder 
of the prince of Orange. " If this king propofes to affure his eftates to 
his children after his death, and to invade another's kingdom at little 
expenfe, let him write a word to Mendoza, his ambaffador, or to Father 
Commelet (one of the mofl feditious orators of the Ligue), and if he 
write with the higuiero del injierno, at the bottom of his letter, the words 
Yo el Rey, they will furnifh him with an aportate monk, who will go 
under a fair femblance, like a Judas, and affamnate in cold blood a great 
king of France, his brother-in-law, in the middle of his camp, without 
fear of God or men ; they will do more, they will canonife the murderer, 
and place this Judas above St. Peter, and baptife this prodigious and 
horrible crime with the name of a providential event, of which the god- 
fathers will be cardinals, legates, and primates." The allufion here is to 
the affafunation of Henri III. by Jacques Clement. Thefe are but a 
few of the marvellous properties of the political drug, after the enumera- 
tion of which the report of the meeting of the Efiates is introduced by a 

y y burlefque 

346 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

burlefque defcription of the grand proceffion which preceded it. Then 
we are introduced to the hall of affembly, and different fubjects pictured 
on the tapeftries which cover its walls, all having reference to the politics 
of the Ligue, are defcribed fully. Then we come to the report of the 
meeting, and to the fpeeches of the different fpeakers, each of which is a 
model of fatire. It is not known which of the little club of fatirifts wrote 
the open fpeech of the duke of Mayenne, but that of the Roman legate 
is known to be the work of Gillot, and that of the cardinal de Pelve, a 
mafterpiece of Latin in the ftyle of the "Epiftolae Obfcurorum Virorum," 
was written by Florent Chreftien. Nicolas Rapin compofed the "harangue" 
placed in the mouth of the archbifhop of Lyons, as well as that of Rcfe, 
the reftor of the univerhtyj and the long fpeech of Claude d'Aubray was 
by Pi thou. Pafferat compofed moft of the verfes which are fcattered 
through the book, and it is underftood that Pithon finally revifed the 
whole. This mock report of the meeting of the Eftates clofes with a 
defcription of a feries of political pictures which are arranged on the wall 
of the flaircafe of the hall. 

Thefe pictures, as well as thofe on the tapeftries of the hall of meeting, 
are fimply fo many caricatures, and the fame may be faid of another fet 
of pictures, of which a defcription is given in one of the fatirical pieces 
which followed the " Satyre Menippee," on the fame fide, entitled, 
" Hifloire des Singeries de la Ligue." It was amid the political turmoil 
of the fixteenth century in France that modern political caricature took 
its rife. 

in Lite?~ature and Art, 347 







IT has been already remarked that political caricature, in the modern 
fenfe of the word, or even perfonal caricature, was inconfiftent with 
the flate of things in the middle ages, until the arts of engraving and 
printing became fufficiently developed, becaufe it requires the facility of 
quick and extenfive circulation. The political or fatirical fong was carried 
everywhere by the minftrel, but the fatirical picture, reprefented only in 
fome folitary fculpture or illumination, could hardly be finiihed before it 
had become ufelefs even in the fmall fphere of its influence, and then 
remained for ages a ftrange figure, with no meaning that could be under 
flood. No fooner, however, was the art of printing introduced, than the 
importance of political caricature was understood and turned to account. 
We have feen what a powerful agent it became in the Reformation, 
which in fpirit was no lefs political than religious ; but even before the 
great religious movement had begun, this agent had been brought into 
activity. One of the earlielt engravings which can be called a caricature 
— perhaps the oldeft of our modern caricatures known — is reprefented in 
our cut No. 171, is no doubt French, and belongs to the year 1499. It 
is fufficiently explained by the hiflory of the time. 

At the date juft mentioned, Louis XII. of France, who had been king 
lefs than twelve months, was newly married to Anne of Britany, and 
had refolved upon an expedition into Italy, to unite the crown of Naples 


348 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

with that of France. Such an expedition affected many political interefts, 
and Louis had to employ a certain amount of diplomacy with his neigh- 
bours, feveral of whom were ftrongly oppofed to his projects of ambition, 
and among thofe who a&ed moft openly were the Swifs, who were 

No. 171. The Political Game of Cards. 

believed to have been fecretly fupported by England and the Netherlands. 
Louis, however, overcame their oppofition, and obtained a renewal of the 
alliance which had expired with his predeceffor Charles VIII. This 
temporary difficulty with the Swifs is the lubje6t of our caricature, the 
original of which bears the title " Le Revers du Jeu des Suyfles " (the 
defeat of the game of the Swifs). The princes moft interefted are 
affembled round a card-table, at which are feated the king of France to 
the right, oppofite him the Swifs, and in front the doge of Venice, who 


in Literature and Art. 349 

was in alliance with the French againft Milan. At the moment repre- 
fented, the king of France is announcing that he has a fluih of cards, the 
Swifs acknowledges the weaknefs of his hand, and the doge lays down 
his cards — in fa<5t, Louis XII. has won the game. But the point of the 
caricature lies principally in the group around. To the extreme right the 
king of England, Henry VII., diftinguifhed by his three armorial lions, 
and the king of Spain, are engaged in earneft conversion. Behind the 
former ftands the infanta Margarita, who is evidently winking at the 
Swifs to give him information of the ftate of the cards of his opponents. 
At her fide ftands the duke of Wirtemberg, and juft before him the 
pope, the infamous Alexander VI. (Borgia), who, though in alliance with 
Louis, is not able, with all his efforts, to read the king's game, and looks 
on with evident anxiety. Behind the doge of Venice ftands the Italian 
refugee, Trivulci, an able warrior, devoted to the interefts of France j 
and at the doge's right hand, the emperor, holding in his hands another 
pack of cards, and apparently exulting in the belief that he has thrown 
confufion into the king of France's game. In the background to the 
left are feen the count Palatine and the marquis of Montferrat, who alfo 
look uncertain about the refultj and below the former appears the duke 
of Savoy, who was giving afliftance to the French defigns. The duke of 
Lorraine is ferving drink to the gamblers, while the duke of Milan, who 
was at this time playing rather a double part, is gathering up the cards 
which have fallen to the ground, in order to make a game for himfelf. 
Louis XII. carried his defigns into execution ; the duke of Milan, 
Ludovico Sforza, nick-named the Moor, played his cards badly, loft his 
duchy, and died in prifon. 

Such is this earlieft of political caricatures — and in this cafe it was 
purely political — but the queftion of religion foon began not only to mix 
ltfelf up with the political queftion, but almoft to abforb it, as we have 
feen in the review of the hiftory of caricature under the Reformation. 
Before this period, indeed, political caricature was only an affair between 
crowned heads, or between kings and their nobles, but the religious agita- 
tion had originated a vaft focial movement, which brought into play 
oopular feelings and paifions : thefe gave caricature a totally new value. 


350 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

Its power was greater! on the middle and lower claffes of fociety, that is, 
on the people, the tiers ktat, which was now thrown prominently forward. 
The new focial theory is proclaimed in a print, of which a fac-fimile will 
be found in the " Mufee de la Caricature," by E. J. Jaime, and which, 
from the ftyle and coftume, appears to be German. The three orders, 
the church, the lord of the land, and the people, reprefented refpe6tively 
by a bifhop, a knight, and a cultivator, Hand upon the globe in an honour- 
able equality, each receiving direct from heaven the emblems or imple- 
ments of his duties. To the bifhop is delivered his bible, to the hufband- 

No. 1JZ. The Three Orders of the State. 

man his mattock, and to the knight the fword with which he is to 
prated and defend the others. This print — fee cut No. 172 — which 
bears the title, in Latin, " Quis te praetulit ? " (Who chofe thee ?) belongs 
probably to the earlier half of the fixteenth century. A painting in the 
Hotel de Ville of Aix, in Provence, reprefents the fame fubjea much 
more fatirically, intending to delineate the three orders as they were, and 


in Literature and Art. 351 

not as they ought to be. The divine hand is letting down from heaven 
an immenfe frame in the form of a heart, in which is a picture repre- 
fenting a king kneeling before the crofs, intimating that the civil power 
was to be fubordinate to the ecclefiaftical. The three orders are repre- 
fented by a cardinal, a noble, and a peafant, the latter of whom is bending 
under the burthen of the heart, the whole of which is thrown upon his 
ihoulders, while the cardinal and the noble, the latter dreffed in the 
fathionable attire of the court minions of the day, are placing one hand 
to the heart on each fide, in a manner which (hows that they fupport 
none of the weight. 

Amid the fierce agitation which fell upon France in the iixteenth 
century, for a while we find but few traces of the employment of 
caricature by either party. The religious reformation there was rather 
ariflocratic than popular, and the reformers fought lefs to excite the 
feelings of the multitude, which, indeed, went generally in the contrary 
direction. There was, moreover, a character of gloom in the religion of 
Calvin, which contrafled flrongly with the joyoufnefs of that of the 
followers of Luther; and the factions in France fought to {laughter, 
rather than to laugh at, each other. The few caricatures of this period 
which are known, are very bitter and coarfe. As far as I am aware, no 
early Huguenot caricatures are known, but there are a few directed againfl 
the Huguenots. It was, however, with the rife of the Ligue that the 
tafle for political caricature may be faid to have taken root in France, and 
in that country it long continued to flourifh more than anywhere ehe. 
The firfl caricatures of the ligueurs were directed againfl the perfon of the 
king, Henri de Valois, and poffefs a brutality almofl beyond defcription. 
It was now an object to keep up the bitternefs of fpirit of the fanatical 
multitude. In one of thefe caricatures a demon is reprefented waiting 
on the king to fummon him to a meeting of the " Eflates " in hell ; and 
in the diflance we fee another demon flying away with him. Another 
relates to the murder of the Guifes, in 1588, which the ligueurs profeffed 
to afcribe to the councils of M. d'Epernon, one of his favourites, on whom 
they looked with great hatred. It is entitled, " Soufflement et Confeil 
diabolique de d'Epernon a Henri de Valois pour faccager les Catholiques." 


352 Hifiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

In the middle of the picture ftands the king, and befide him D'Epernon, 
who is blowing into his ear with a bellows. On the ground before them 
lie the headlefs corpfes of the deux freres Catholiques, the duke of Guife, 
and his brother the cardinal, while the executioner of royal vengeance is 
holding up their heads by the hair. In the diftance is feen the caftle of 
Blois, in which this tragedy took place ; and on the left of the picture 
appear the cardinal de Bourbon, the archbiihop of Blois, and other 
friends of the Guifes, exprefling their horror at the deed. Henri III. was 
himfelf murdered in the year following, and the caricatures againft him 
became Hill more brutal during the period in which the ligueurs tried to 
fet up a king of their own in his place. In one caricature, which has 
more of an emblematical character than moll of the others, he is pictured 
as " Henri le Monftrueux ;" and in others, entitled "Les Hermaphro- 
dites," he is exhibited under forms which point at the infamous vices 
with which he was charged. 

The tide of caricature, however, foon turned in the contrary direction, 
and the coarfe, unprincipled abufe employed by the ligueurs found a 
favourable contraft in the powerful wit and talent of the fatirifls and 
caricaturiils who now took up pen and pencil in the caufe of Henri IV. 
The former was, on the whole, the more formidable weapon, but the 
latter reprefented to fome eyes more vividly in picture what had already 
been done in type. This was the cafe on both fides ; the caricature lafl 
mentioned was founded upon a very libellous fatirical pamphlet againft 
Henri III., entitled "L'Ifle des Hermaphrodites." It is the cafe alfo 
with the firft caricatures againft the ligueurs, which I have to mention. 
The Eftates held in Paris by the duke of Mayenne and the ligueurs for 
the purpofe of electing a new king in oppofition to Henri of Navarre, were 
made thefubject of the celebrated "Satyre Menippee," in which the pro- 
ceedings of thefe Eftates were turned to ridicule in the moft admirable 
manner. Four large editions were fold in lefs than as many months. 
Several caricatures arofe out of or accompanied this remarkable book. 
One of thefe is a rather large print, entitled "La Singerie des Eftats de la 
Ligue, Fan 1593," in which the members of the Eftates and the ligueurs 
are pictured with the heads of monkeys. The central part reprefents the 


in Literature and Art. 


meeting of the Eftates, at which the lieutenant-general of the kingdom, 
the duke of Mayenne, feated on the throne, prefides. Above him is 
fufpended a large portrait of the infanta of Spain, V Efpoufee de la Ligue, 
as me is called in the fatire, ready to marry any one whom the Eftates 
mall declare king of France. In chairs, on each fide of Mayenne, are the 
two " ladies of honour " of the faid future ipoufe. To the left are feated 

No. 173. The AJjembly of Apes. 

in a row the celebrated council of fixteen (lesfeize), reduced at this time 
to twelve, becaufe the duke of Mayenne, to check their turbulence, had 
caufed four of them to be hanged. They wear the favours of the future 
fpoufe. Oppofite to them are the reprefentatives of the three orders, all, 
we are told, devoted to the fervice of "the faid lady." Before the throne 

z z are 

354 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

are the two muficians of the Ligue, one defcribed as Phelipottin, the blind 
performer on the viel, or hurdy-gurdy, to the Ligue, and his fubordinate, 
the player on the triangle, '• kept at the expenfe of the future fpoufe." 
Thefe were to entertain the arTembly during the paufes between the 
orations of the various fpeakers. All this is a fatire on the efforts of the 
king of Spain to eftablifh a monarch of his own choice. On the bench 
behind the muficians fit the deputies from Lyons, Poitiers, Orleans, and 
Rheims, cities where the influence of the Ligue was ftrong, difcuffing the 
quefiion as to who mould be king. Thus much of this picture is repre- 
fented in our cut No. 173. There are other groups of figures in the 
reprefentation of the affembly of the Eftates ; and there are two fide com- 
partments — that on the left reprefentmg a forge, on which the fragments 
of a broken king are laid to be refounded, and a multitude of apes, with 
hammers and an anvil, ready to work him into a new king ; the other 
fide of the picture reprefents the circumftances of a then well-known a 61 
of tyranny perpetrated by the Eftates of the Ligue. Another large and 
well-executed engraving, publifhed at Paris in 1594, immediately after 
Henri IV. had obtained poffeflion of his capital, alfo reprefents the grand 
proceffion of the Ligue as defcribed at the commencement of the 
" Satyre Menippee," and was intended to hold up to ridicule the warlike 
temper of the French Catholic clergy. It is entitled, "La Proceffion de 
la Ligue." 

Henri's triumph over the Ligue was made the fubjecl: of a feries of 
three caricatures, or perhaps, more correctly, of a caricature in three 
divifions. The firft is entitled the " Naiffance de la Ligue," and repre- 
fents it under the form of a monfter with three heads, feverally thofe 
of a wolf, a fox, and a ferpent, iffuing from hell-mouth. Under it 
are the following lines : — 

Uenfer, pour ajfervir fouls fes loix tout le monde, 
Vomit ce monjire /lideux, fait d^un hup ravijjeur, 
D^un renard enveilly, et d^un ferpent immoude, 
Affuble d^un manteau propre a toute cou/eur. 

The fecond divifion, the " Declin de la Ligue," reprefenting its downfall, 

'n Literature and Art. 



is copied in our cut No. 174. Henri of Navarre, in the form of a lion, 
has pounced fiercely upon it, and not too foon, for it had already feized 
the crown and fceptre. In the diftance, the fun of national profperity is 
feen rifing over the country. The third picture, the ff Effets de la Ligue," 
reprefents the deftru6tion of the kingdom and the flaughter of the people, 
of which the Ligue had been the caufe. 

The caricatures in France became more numerous during the feven- 
teenth century, but they are either fo elaborate or fo obfcure, that each 

No. 174. The Dejlru&ion of the Ligue. 

requires almoil a differtation to explain it, and they often relate to 
queftions or events which have little intereil for us at the prefent day. 
Several rather fpirited ones appeared at the time of the difgrace of the 
marefchal d'Ancre and his wife ; and the inglorious war with the 
Netherlands, in 1635, furnifhed the occanon for others, for the French, 
as ufual, could make merry in their reverfes as well as in their fuccefTes. 
The imp^rialift general Galas inflicted ferious defeat on the French 
armies, and o.T.^elled them to a very difaftrous retreat from the countries 
they had invaded, a.. A they tried to amufe themfelves at the expenfe of 
their conqueror. Galas was rather remarkable for obeflty, and the French 


356 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

caricaturifts of the day made this circnmllance a fubjecl: for their fatire. 
Our cut No. 175 is copied from a print in which the magnitude of the 
ftomach of General Galas is certainly fomewhat exaggerated. He is 

No. 175. General Galas. 

reprefented, not apparently with any good reafon, as puffed up with his 
own importance, which is evaporating in fmoke; and along with the 
fmoke thus iifuing from his mouth, he is made to proclaim his greatnefs 
in the following rather doggrel verfes : — 

ye Juis ce grand Galas, autrefois dans Varme'e 
La gloire de PEJpagne et de mes compagnons ,• 
Maintenant je ne Juis qi/un corps plein de fumee y 
Pour avoir trop mange de raves et d'oignons. 
Gargantua jamais neux une telle panje, &c. 


in Literature and Art. 


Caricatures in France began to be tolerably abundant during the 
middle of the feventeenth century, but under the crufhing tyranny of 
Louis XIV., the freedom of the prefs, in all its forms, ceafed to exift, and 
caricatures relating to France, unlefs they came from the court party, 
had to be publifhed in other countries, efpecially in Holland. It will be 
fufficient to give two examples from the reign of Louis XIV. In the 
year 1661, a difpute arofe in London between the ambaffador of France, 
M. D'Eftrades, and the Spaniih ambaffador, the baron de Batteville, on 

No, 176. Batteville Humiliated. 

the queftion of precedence, which was carried fo far as to give rife to a 
tumult in the flreets of the Englifh capital. At this very moment, a new 
Spaniih ambaffador, the marquis de Fuentes, was on his way to Paris, 
but Louis, indignant at Batteville's behaviour in London, fent orders to 
flop Fuentes on the frontier, and forbid his further advance into his 
kingdom. The king of Spain difavowed the act of his ambaffador in 
England, who was recalled, and Fuentes received orders to make an 


358 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefq 


apology to king Louis. This event was made the fubje<5t> of a rather 
boafting caricature, the greater portion of which is given in our cut 
■No. 176. It is entitled " Batteville vient adorer le Soliel" (Batteville 
comes to worfhip the fun). In the original the fun is feen mining in the 
upper corner of the picture to the right, and prefenting the juvenile face 
of Louis XIV., but the caricaturift appears to have fubftituted Batteville 
in the place of Fuentes. Beneath the whole are the following boaftful 
lines : — 

On ne -va plus a Rome, on vient de Rome en France, 
Meriter le pardon de quelque grande offence. 
Ultalie tout entiere eft joumije a ces loix ; 
Un Ejpagnol f 'oppofe a ce droit de nos rois. 
Mais un Francais puifj'ant joua des baftonnades, 
Et punit r info lent de fes rodomontades. 

From this time there fprung up many caricatures againft the Spaniards ; 
but the moft ferocious caricature, or rather book of caricatures, of the 
reign of Louis XIV., came from without, and was directed againft the 
king and his minifters and courtiers. The revocation of the edict of 
Nantes took place in October, 1^85, and was preceded and followed by 
frightful perfecutions of the Proteftants, which drove away in thoufands 
the earneft, intelligent, and induftrious part of the population of France. 
They carried with them a deep hatred to their oppreffors, and fought 
refuge efpecially in the countries moft hoftile to Louis XIV. — England 
and Holland. The latter country, where they then enjoyed the greatefl 
freedom of action, foon fent forth numerous fatirical books and prints 
againft the French king and his minifters, of which the book juft alluded 
to was one of the moft remarkable. It is entitled " Les Heros de Ja 
Ligue, ou la Proceffion Monacale conduite par Louis XIV. pour la Con- 
version des Proteflans de fon Royaume," and confifts of a series of twenty- 
four moft grotefque faces, intended to reprefent the minifters and courtiers 
of the " grand roi " moft odious to the Calvinifts. It muft have provoked 
their wrath exceedingly. I give one example, and as it is difficult to 
felect, I take the firft in the lift, which reprefents William of Fiirftemberg, 
one of the German princes devoted to Louis XIV., who, by his intrigues, 
had forced him into the archbiftiopric of Cologne, by which he became 


an elector of the empire. For many reafons William of Fiirftemberg was 
hated by the French Proteftants, but it is not quite clear why he is here 
reprefented in the character of one of the low merchants of the Halles. 

No. ijj. William of Fiirftemberg. 

Over the pi6ture, in the original, we read, Guillaume de Furjiembcrg, crie, 
ite, mijfa eji, and beneath are the four lines : — 

J a y juitte mon pais pour fervir a la France^ 
Soit par ma trahifon, Joit par ma laehete ,• 
'J 'ay trouble les e'tats par ma mechancett^ 
Une abbaye eft ma recompenfe. 

360 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 










DURING the fixteenth century caricature can hardly be faid to have 
exifted in England, and it did not come much into fafhion, until the 
approach of the great ftruggle which convulfed our country in the century 
following. The popular reformers have always been the firft to appreciate 
the value of pictorial fatire as an offenhve weapon. Such was the cafe 
with the German reformers in the age of Luther ; as it was again with 
the Englifh reformers in the days of Charles I., a period which we may 
juftly confider as that of the birth of Englifh political caricature. From 
1640 to 1 66 1 the prefs launched forth an abfolute deluge of political 
pamphlets, many of which were of a fatirical character, fcurrilous in form 
and language, and, on whatever fide they were written, very unfcrupulous 
in regard to the truth of their ftatements. Among them appeared a not 
unfrequent engraving, feldom well executed, whether on copper or wood, 
but difplaying a coarfe and pungent wit that muft have told with great 
effect on thofe for whom it was intended. The firfl objects of attack in 
thefe caricatures were the Epifcopalian party in the church and the 
profanenefs and infolence of the cavaliers. The Puritans or Prefbyterians 
who took the lead in, and at firfl directed, the great political movement, 
looked upon Epifcopalianifm as differing in little from popery, and, at all 
events, as leading direct to it. Arminianifm was with them only another 


in Literature and Art. 361 

name for the fame thing, and was equally deterred. In a caricature 
publilhed in 1641, Arminius is reprefented fupported on one fide by 
Herefy, wearing the triple crown, while on the other fide Truth is 
turning away from him, and carrying with her the Bible. It was the 
indifcreet zeal of archbilhop Laud which led to the triumph of the 
Puritan party, and the downfall of the epifcopal church government, and 
Laud became the butt for attacks of all defcriptions, in pamphlets, fongs 
and fatirical prints, the latter ufually figuring in the titles of the pam- 
phlets. Laud was efpecially obnoxious to the Puritans for the bitternefs 
with which he had perfecuted them. 

In 1640 Laud was committed to the Tower, an event which was 
hailed as the firft grand ftep towards the overthrow of the bifhops. As 
an example of the feeling of exultation difplayed on this occafion by his 
enemies, we may quote a few lines from a fatirical fong, publifhed in 
1641, and entitled " The Organs Eccho. To the Tune of the Cathedrall 
Service." It is a general attack on the prelacy, and opens with a cry of 
triumph over the fall of William Laud, of whom the fong fays — 

As he ivas in his braverie, 
A nd thought to bring us all in fla-verie, 
The parliament found oui his knaverie ; 

And fo fell William. 

Alas ! poore William ! 

His pope-like domineering, 

And fame other tricks appearing, 

Pro-vok" d Sir Edivard Deering 

To blame the old prelate 

Silas ! poore prelate ! 

Some fay he <was in hope 
To bring England againe to th" 1 pope ; 
But noiv he is in danger of an axe or a rope. 

Farewell, old Canterbury. 

Alas ! poore Canterbury ! 

Wren, bifhop of Ely, was another of the more obnoxious of the 
prelates, and there was hardly lefs joy among the popular party when he 
was committed to the Tower in the courfe of the year 1641. Another 

3 A fong, 

362 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

fong, in verfe fimilar to the laft, contains a general review of the demerits 
of the members of the prelacy, under the title of "The Biihops Laft 
Good-night." At the head of the broadfide on which it is printed ftand 
two fatirical woodcuts, but it muft be confeifed that the words of the 
fong are better than the engraving. The bifhop of Ely, we are told, had 
juft gone to join his friend Laud in the Tower — 

Ely, thou hajl alivay to thy power 

Left the church naked in a ftorme and fhowre, 

And noiv for V thou muji to thy old friend V tK Tower. 

To the Toiver muji Ely ; 

Come away, Ely. 

A third obnoxious prelate was bifhop Williams. Williams was a 
Welfhman who had been high in favour with James I., but he had given 
offence to the government of Charles I., and been imprifoned in the 
Tower during the earlier part of that king's reign. He was releafed by 
the parliament in 1640, and fo far regained the favour of king Charles, that 
he was raifed to the archbifhopric of York in the year following. When 
the civil war began, he retired into Wales, and garrifoned Conway for 
the king. Williams's warlike behaviour was the fource of much mirth 
among the Roundheads. In 1642 was publilhed a large caricature on 
the three claffes to whom the parliamentarians were efpecially hoftile — 
the royaliil judges, the prelates, and <"he ruffling cavaliers j reprefented 
here, as we are told in writing in the copy among the king's pamphlets, 
by judge Mallet, bifhop Williams, and colonel Lunsford. Thefe three 
figures are placed in as many compartments with doggrel verfes under 
each. That of bifhop Williams is copied in our cut No. 178. The 
bifhop is armed cap-a-pie, and in the diftance behind him are feen on one 
fide his cathedral church, and on the other his war-horfe. The verfes 
beneath it contain an allufion to this prelate's Welfh extraction in the 
orthography of fome of the words : — 

Oh,Jir, Vme ready, did you never heere 

Hoiv forivard I have byn fis many a yeare, 

T'oppoje the praclice dat is noiv on foote. 

Which plucks my brethren up both pranch and roote ? 

My pojlure and my hart toth well agree 

Tojight ; noiv plud is up : come, follow mee. 


in Literature and Art. 

3 6 3 

The country had now begun to experience the miseries of war, and 
to fmart under them; and the cavaliers were efpecially reproached for the 
cruelty with which they plundered and ill-treated people whenever they 
gained the maftery, Colonel Lunsford was efpecially notorious for the 

No. 178. The Church Militant. 

barbarities committed by himfelf and his men — to fuch a degree that he 
was popularly accufed of eating children, a charge which is frequently 
alluded to in the popular longs of the time. Thus one of thefe fongs 
couples him with two other obnoxious royalifts : — 

From Fielding, and from Vavafour, 

Both ill-affecled men, 
From Lunsford eke deliver us, 

Who eateth up children. 


364 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

In the third compartment of the caricature juft mentioned, we fee in 
the background of the picture, behind colonel Lunsford, his foldiers occu- 
pied in burning towns, and maffacring women and children. The model 
of the gay cavalier of the earlier period of this great revolution, before 

No. 179. The Sucklington Faftion. 

the war had broken out in its intenfity, was the courtly Sir John Suckling, 
the poet of the drawing-room and tavern, the admired of" roaring boys," 
and the hated of rigid Puritans. Sir John outdid his companions in 
extravagance in everything which was fafhionable, and the difplay of his 
■zeal in the caufe of royalty was not calculated to conciliate the reformers. 


in Literature and Art. 365 

When the king led an army againfl the Scottifh Covenanters in 1639, 
Suckling raifed a troop of a hundred horfe at his own expenle ; but they 
gained more reputation by their extraordinary drefs than by their courage, 
and the whole affair was made a fubject of ridicule. From this time the 
name of Suckling became identified with that gay and profligate clais who, 
difgufted by the outward fhow of fanctity which the Puritans affected, 
rulhed into the other extreme, and became notorious for their profanenefs, 
their libertinifm, and their indulgence in vice, which threw a certain 
degree of difcredit upon the royalifr. party. There is a large broadllde 
among the King's Pamphlets in the Britifh Mufeum, entitled, " The 
Sucklington Faction 3 or (Sucklings) Roaring Boys." It is one of 
thofe fatirical compositions which were then fafhionable under the title 
of " Characters," and is illuftrated by an engraving, from which our cut 
No. 179 is copied. This engraving, which from its fuperior ftyle is 
perhaps the work of a foreign artift, reprefents the interior of a chamber, 
in which two of the Roaring Boys are engaged in drinking and fmoking, 
and forms a curious picture of contemporary manners. Underneath the 
engraving we read the following lines : — 

Much meate doth gluttony produce, 

And makes a man a fivine ; 

But hee '5 a temperate man indeed 

That ivith a leafe can dine, 

Hee needes no napkin for his handes, 

His fingers for to 'wipe ; 
He hath his kitchin in a b:x, 

His roaji meate in a pipe. 

When the war fpread itfelf over the country, many of thefe Roaring 
Boys became foldiers, and difgraced the profeffion by rapacity and cruelty. 
The pamphlets of the parliamentarians abound with complaints of the 
outrages perpetrated by the Cavaliers, and the evil appears to have been 
increafed by the ill-conduct of the auxiliaries brought over from Ireland 
to ferve the king, who were efpecially objects of hatred to the Puritans. 
A broadiide among the king's pamphlets is adorned by a fatirical picture 
of " The Englifh Irith Souldier, with his new difcipline, new armes, old 


3 66 

Ilijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

ltomacke, and new taken pillage 3 who had rather eat than fight." It 
was publifhed in 1642. The Englilh Irifh foldier is, as may be fuppofed, 
heavily laden with plunder. In 1646 appeared another caricature, which 
is copied in our cut No. 180. It reprefents "England's Wolfe with 

No. 180. 

England's Wolf." 

Eagles clawes : the cruell impieties of bloud-thirfty royalifls and blaf- 
phemous anti-parliamentarians, under the command of that inhumane 
prince Rupert, Digby, and the reft, wherein the barbarous crueltie of our 
civill uncivill warres is briefly difcovered." England's wolf, as will be 
feen, is drerTed in the high fafh on of the gay courtiers of the time. 

A few large caricatures, embodying fatire of a more comprehenfive 
defcription, appeared from time to time, during this troubled age. Such 
is a large emblematical picture, publifhed on the 9th of November, 1642, 



Literature and Art, 


and entitled a Heraclitus' Dream," for the fcene is fuppofed to be mani- 
fested to the philofopher in a vifion. In the middle of the picture the 
fheep are feen {hearing their lhepherd ; while one cuts his hair, another 
treats his beard in the fame manner. Under the picture we read the 
couplet — 

The floe ke that ivas ivont to be [home by the herd, 
Noiv pdleth the Jhepherd in jpight of his beard. 

On the 19th of January, 1647, a caricature appeared under the title 
" An Embleme of the Times." On one fide War, reprefented as a giant 
in armour, is feen ftanding upon a heap of dead and mutilated bodies, 
while Hypocri fy, in the form of a woman with two faces, is flying towards 
a difiant city. " Libertines," " anti-fabbatarians," and others, are haften- 

No. 181. Folly Upper mo ft. 

ing in the fame direction ; and the angel of peftilence, hovering over the 
city, is ready to pounce upon it. 

The party of the parliament was now triumphant, and the queflion of 
religion again became the fubject of difpute. The Prefbyterians had 
been eftablifhing a fort of tyranny over men's minds, and fought to pro- 
fcribe all other fects, till their intolerance gradually raifed up a ftrong and 


368 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotejque 

general feeling of refiftance. Since 1643 a brifk. war of political pam- 
phlets had been carried on between the Prefbyterians and their opponents, 
when, in 1647, the Independents, whofe caufe had been efpoufed by the 
army, gained the maftery. " Sir John Preibyter " or to ufe the more 
familiar phrafe, "Jack Preibyter," furniihed a fubject for frequent fatire, 
and the Prefbyterians were not flow in returning the blow. In the 
collection in the Britilh Mufeum we find a caricature which muft have 
come from the Prelbyterian party, entitled " Reall Perfecution, or the 
Foundation of a general Toleration, dilplaied and portrayed by a proper 
emblem, and adorned with the fame flowers wherewith the fcoffers of 
this laft age have ftrowed their libellous pamphlets." The group which 
occupies the middle part of this broadfide, is copied in our cut No. c8i. 
It has its feparate title, " The Picture of an Englifh Perfecutor, or a foole- 
ridden ante-Prefbeterian feclary." (I give the fpelling as in the original.) 
Folly is riding on the fectarian, whom he holds with a bridle, the fectarian 
having the ears of an afs. The following homely rhymes are placed in 
the mouth of Folly, — 

Behould my habit, like my ivitt, 
Equal h his on ivhom IJltt. 

Anti-Prefbyterian is, as will be feen, dreffed in the height of the fafhion, 
and fays — 

My curjed fpeeches againji Pre/be try 
Declares unto the world my foolery. 

The mortification of the Prefbyterians led in Scotland to the procla- 
mation of Charles II. as king, and to the ill-fated expedition which ended 
in the battle of Worcefter in 1651, when fatirical pamphlets, ballads, and 
caricatures againft the Scottifh Prefbyterians became for a while very 
popular. One of the beft of the latter is reprefented in our cut No. 182. 
Its object is to ridicule the conditions which the Prefbyterians exacted 
from the young prince before they offered him the crown. It is printed 
in the middle of the broadfide, in profe, publifiied on the 14th of July, 
16^1, with the general title, " Old Sayings and Predictions verified and 
fulfilled, touching the young King of Scotland and his gude fubjects." 


in Literature and Art. 

3 6 9 

The picture has its feparate title, "The Scots holding their young kinges 
nofe to the grinflone." followed by the lines — 

Come to the grinjione, Charles, "'tis new to late 
To recoleci, "'tis prejbiterian fate. 
You covinant pretenders, muji I bee 
The Jubjefi of youer tradgie-comedie? 

In fad, the piclure reprefents Prefbyterianifm — Jack Prefbyter — holding 
the young king's nofe to the grindftone, which is turned by the Scots, 

No. 182. Conditions of Royalty. 

perfonified as Jockey. The following lines are put into the mouths of the 
three ac\ors in this icene : — 

Jockey. — I, Jockey, turne the stone of all your plots, 

For none turnes faster than the turne-coat Scots. 
Prejbyter. — We for our ends did make thee king, be sure, 

Not to rule us, we will not that endure. 
King. — You deep dissemblers, I kow what you doe, 
And, for revenges sake, I will dissemble too. 

Charles's defeat and flight from Worceftei furnifhed materials for a 

3 b much 

370 Hi ft or y of Caricature and Grotefq 


much more elaborate caricature than moft of the Similar productions of 
this period, and of a fomewhat Angular defign. It was published on the 
6th of November, 1651, and bears the title "A Mad DeSigne ; or a 
Defcription of the king of Scots marching in his difguife, after the Rout 
at Worcefter." A long, and not unneceiTary, explanation of the feveral 
groups forming this picture, enables us to understand it. On the left 
Charles is feated on the globe " in a melancholy poflure." A little to 
the right, and nearly in front, the bitliop of Clogher is performing mafs, 
at which lords Ormond and Inchquin, in the Shapes of Strange animals, 
hold torches, and the lord Taaf, in the form of a monkey, holds up the 
bifhop's train. The Scottilh army is feen marching up, confifting, accord- 
ing to the defcription, of papifts, prelatical malignants, Prefbyterians, and 
old cavaliers 5 the latter of whom are reprefented by the " fooles head 
upon a pole in the rear." The next group confifts of two monkeys, one 
with a fiddle, the other carrying a long Staff* with a torch at the end, con- 
cerning which we learn that "The two ridiculous anticks, one with a 
fiddle, and the other with a torch, ft* forth the ridiculoufnefs of their 
condition when they marched into England, carried up with high 
thoughts, yet altogether in the darke, having onely a fooles bawble to be 
their light to walke by, mirth of their own whimfies to keep up their 
fpirits, and a fheathed fword to trufte in." Next come a troop of women, 
children, and papiSts, lamenting over their defeat. Two monkeys on 
foot, and one on horfeback, follow, the latter riding with his face turned 
to the horfe's tail, and carrying in his hand a fpit with provisions on it. 
It is explained as " The Scots Kings flight from Worcefter, reprefented 
by the foole on horfeback, riding backward, turning his face every way 
in feares, ufhered by duke Hambleton and the lord Wilmot." Laftly, a 
crowd of women with flags bring up the rear. It cannot be faid that the 
wit difplayed in this fatire is of the very higheft order. 

After this period we meet with comparatively few caricatures until 
the death of Cromwell, and the eve of the Reftoration, when there came 
a new and iierce Struggle of political parties. The Dutch were the fubject 
of fome fatirical prints and pamphlets in 16^2 5 and we find a fmall number 
of caricatures on the focial evils, fuch as drunkennefs and gluttony, and on 


in Literature and Art. 

37 1 

one or two fubje6ts of minor agitation. With the clofe of the Common- 
wealth a new form of caricature came in. Playing cards had, during this 
feventeenth century, been employed for various purpofes which were quite 
alien to their original character. In France they were made the means 
of conveying infraction to children. In England, at the time of which 
we are fpeaking, they were adopted as the medium for fpreading political 

D on Raft Ir'ufg K of J. 
CoiTlcoL I raises 

No. 1 8-. 

Arthur Hajelrigg, 

caricature. The earlieft of thefe packs of cards known is one which 
appears to have been publilhed at the very moment of the reitoration of 
Charles II., and which was, perhaps, engraved in Holland. It contains 
? feries of caricatures on the principal a6ts of the Commonwealth, and 
on the parliamentary leaders. Among other cards of a fimilar character 
which have been preferved is a pack relating to the popifh plot, another 


37 2 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

relating to the Rye Houfe confpiracy, one on the Mimmppi fcheme, 
publifhed in Holland, and one on the South Sea bubble. 

The earlieft of thefe packs of fatirical cards, that on the Common- 
wealth, belonged a few years ago to a lady of the name of Preft, and is 
very fully defcribed in a paper by Mr. Pettigrew, printed in the " Journal 
of the Britifh Archaeological Aflbciation." Each of the fifty-two cards 

No. 1 84. General Lambert. 

prefents a picture with a fatirical title. Thus the ace of diamonds repre- 
fents "The High Court of Juftice, or Oliver's Slaughter Houfe." The 
eight of diamonds is reprefented in our cut No. 183 ; its fubject is " Don 
Hafelrigg, Knight of the Codled Braine." Tt is hardly neceflary to fay 
that Sir Arthur Hafelrigg acted a very prominent and remarkable part 
during the whole of the Commonwealth period, and that his mannen 


in Literature and Art. 


were impetuous and authoritative, which was probably the meaning of 
the epithet here given to him. The card of the king of diamonds repre- 
fents rather unequivocally the fubje6t indicated by its title, "Sir H. Mild- 
may folicits a citizen's wife, for which his owne corrects him." It is 
an allufion to one of the petty fcandals of the republican period. The 
eight of hearts is a fatire on major-general Lambert. This able and diftin- 
guifhed man was remarkably fond of flowers, took great pleafure in 
cultivating them, and was lkilful in drawing them, which was one of his 
favourite amufements. He withdrew to Amfterdam during the Protec- 

No. 185. Shrovetide. 

torate, and there gave full indulgence to this love of flowers, and I need 

hardly fay that it was the age of the great tulip mania in Holland. 

When, after the Reftoration, he was involved in the fate of the regicides, 

but had his fentence commuted for thirty years of imprifonment, he 

alleviated the dulnefs of his long confinement in the ifle of Guernfey by 

the fame amufement. In the card we have engraved, Lambert is repre- 

fented in his garden, holding a large tulip in his hand 5 and it is no doubt 

in allufion to this innocent tafte that he is here entitled " Lambert, Knight 

of the Golden Tulip." 


374 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

The Reftoration furnifhed better fongs than prints, and many years 
parTed befoie any caricatures worthy of notice appeared in England. 
Even burlefque fubje6ts of any merit occur but rarely, and I hardly know 
of one which is worth defcribing here. Among the bell of thofe I have 
met with, is a pair of plates, publilhed in 1660, reprefenting Lent and 
Shrovetide, and thefe, I believe, are copied or imitated from foreign 
prints. Lent is come as a thin miferable-looking knight-errant, appro- 
priately armed and mounted, ready to give battle to Shrovetide, whofe 
good living is pernicious to the whole community, and he abufes his oppo- 
nent in good round terms. In the companion print, of which our cut 
No. 185 is a copy, Shrovetide appears as a jolly champion, quite ready to 
meet his enemy. He is bell defcribed in the following lines, extracted 
from the verfes which accompany the prints: — 

Fatt Shro-uetyde, mounted on a good fatt oxe, 
Suppofd that Lent tvas mad, or caught afoxe,* 
Armed cap-a-pea from head unto the heel, 
A /pit his long fivord, fomeivhat ivorfe than Jieale, 
(Sheath' 'd in a fatt pigge and a peece of porke), 
His bottles fid ivith ivine, ivell ftopt ivith corke ; 
The tivo plump capons fluttering at his crupper ,• 
And 'i Jhoulders lac'd ivith faivfages for J upper ,• 
The gridWn {like a ivell f rung injlrumeni) 
Hung at his backe, and for the tumament 
His helmet is a brajje pott, and his flagge 
A cookesfoule apron, ivhich the ivind doth ivagg, 
Fixd to a broome : thus bravely he did ride, 
And boldly to his foe he thus replied. 

ut , was drunk. 

in Literature and Art. 375 








IN England, as in Athens of old, perfect comedy arofe gradually out of 
the perfonalities of the rude dramatic attempts of an earlier period. 
Such productions as Ralph Roifter Doifter and Gammer Gurton's Needle 
were mere imperfect attempts at, we may perhaps rather fay feelers 
towards, comedy itfelf — that drama, the object of which was to carica- 
ture, and thus to dilTect and apply correctives to, the vices and weak- 
neffes of contemporary fociety. The genius of Shakefpeare was far too 
exquifitely poetical to qualify him for a talk like this ; it wanted fome 
one who could ufe the lancet and fcalpel fkilfully, but foberly, and who 
was not liable to be led aftray by too much vigour of imagination. 

Such a one was Ben Jonlon, whom we may rightly confider as the 
father of Englilh comedy. " Bartholomew Fair," nrft performed at the 
Hope Theatre, on Bankfide, London, on the 31ft of October, 1614, is 
the moll perfect and mod remarkable example of the truly Englifh 
comedy, remarkable, among many other things, for the extraordinary 
number of characters who were brought upon the ftage in one piece, and 
who are all at the fame time grouped and individualifed with a lkill that 
reminds us of the pictorial tiiumphs of a Callot or a Hogarth. London 
life is placed before us in all its moie popular forms in one grand tableau, 
the one in which it would {how itfelf in its more grotefque attitudes ; the 
London citizen, his vain or eafy wife, lharpers of every defcription, and 
their victims no lefs varied in character, the petty city officers, all come 

376 Hijl or y of Caricature and Grot ef que 

in for their (hare of fatire. The different groups are diftributed fo natu- 
rally, that it is difficult to fay who is the principal character of the piece 
— and who ever was the principal character in Bartholomew Fair? Per- 
haps the character of Cokes, the young booby fquire from Harrow — for in 
thofe times even fo near London as Harrow, a young fquire was confidered 
to be in all probability but a young country booby — ftrikes us moft. It 
is faid to have been at a later period the favourite character of Charles II. 
Among the other principal characters of the play are a proctor of the 
Arches Court named Littlewit, who imagines himfelf to be a bel efprit of 
the firfl order ; his wife, and her mother, dame Purecraft, who is a widow ; 
Juftice Overdo, a London magi urate, to whofe ward, Grace Wellborn, 
Cokes is affianced in marriage ; a zealous Puritan, named Zeal-of-the-land 
Bufy, who is a mitor to the widow Purecraft, herfelf alio a Puritan; 
Winwife, Bufy's rival ; and a gamefler named Tom Quarlous, who 
figures as Winwife's friend and companion. AH thefe meet in town, on 
the morning of the fair, Cokes under the care of a fort of fteward or 
upper fervant, named Wafpe, who was of a quarrelfome difpofition, 
and feparate in groups among the crowd which filled Smithneld and its 
vicinity, each having their feparate adventures, but meeting from time to 
time, and reaffembling at the end. Cokes behaves as a fimpleton from 
the country, longs for everything, and wonders at everything, buys up 
toys and gingerbread, is feparated from all his companions, robbed of his 
money and even of his outer garments, and in this condition finally 
fettles down at a puppet-mow. Meanwhile the Puritan Bufy, by his zeal 
againft the "heathen abominations" of the fair on one hand, and 
Wafpe, by his quarrelfome temper on the other, fall into a feries of 
fcrapes, which end in both being carried to the flocks. They are there 
joined by another important perfonage. Juftice Overdo, who is diftin- 
guifhed by an extraordinary zeal for the right adminiftration of juftice 
and the fuppreffion of focial vices of all kinds, has come into the fair in 
difguife, in order to make himfelf acquainted with its various abufes, and 
he paffes among them unknown ; and his inquifitive intermeddling brings 
him into a variety of mifhaps, in the courfe of which he alio is feized by 
the conftable, and allows himfelf to be taken to the ftocks, rather than 


in Literature and Art. 


betray nis identity. Thus all three, Bufy, Wafpe, and Overdo, are placed 
in the flocks at the fame time ; but Wafpe, by a clever trick, efcapes, and 
leaves the Puritan and the juflice confined together, the one looking upon 
himfelf as a martyr for religion's fake, the other rather glorying in 
fuffering through his difinterefted zeal for the common good. They, 
too, after a while make their efcape through an accidental overfight of 
their keepers, and mix again with the mob. The women, likewife, have 
been feparated from their male companions, have fallen among fharpers 
and bullies, been made drunk, and efcaped but narrowly from ftill worfe 
difafters. They all finally meet before the puppet-fhow, which has fixed the 
attention of Cokes, and there juflice Overdo difcovers himfelf. Such are 
the materials of Ben Jonfon's " Bartholomew Fair," the bufiefl and mofl 
amufing of plays. It is faid, when firfl acted, to have given great fatif- 
faction to king James, by the ridicule thrown upon the Puritans, and it 
continued to be a favourite comedy when revived after the Refloration. 

"The Alchemifl," by the fame author, preceded "Bartholomew 
Fair," by four years, and was defigned as a fatire upon a clafs of impoflors 
who, in that age, were among the greatefl pefls of fociety, and were 
inflruments, one way or other, in the greatefl crimes of the day. "The 
Alchemifl" belongs, alfo, to the pure Englifli comedy, but its plot is more 
fimple and diftind than that of "Bartholomew Fair." It involves events 
which may have occurred frequently, at periods when the metropolis was 
from time to time expofed to the viciffitudes of the plague. On one of 
thefe occafions, Lovewit, a London gentleman, obliged to quit the metropolis 
in order to avoid the plague, leaves his town houfe to the charge of one 
man-fervant, Face, who proves difhonefl, affociates himfelf with a rogue 
named Subtle, and an immoral woman named Dol Common, and introduces 
them into the houfe, which is made the bafis for their fubfequent opera- 
tions. Subtle affumes the character of a magician and alchemifl:, while 
Dol acts various female parts, and Face goes about alluring people into 
their fnares. Among their dupes are a knight who lives upon the town, 
two Englifh Puritans from Amfterdam, a lawyer's clerk, a tobacco man, 
a young country fquire, and his lifter dame Pliant, a widow. The various 
intrigues in which thefe individuals are involved, fhow us the way in 

3 c which 

378 Hi ft or y of Caricature and Grotefque 

which the pretended conjurers and alchemifts contributed to all the vices 
of the town. At length their bafe dealings are on the point of being 
expofed by the cunning of one upon whom they had attempted to impofe, 
when Truewit, the matter of the houfe, returns unexpectedly, and all is 
difcovered, but the alchemift and his female ailbciate contrive to efcape. 
The object of their laft intrigue had been to entrap dame Pliant, who 
was rich, into a marriage with a needy {harper ; and Lovewit, finding the 
lady in the houfe, and liking her, marries her himfelf, and, in confidera- 
tion of the fatisfaction he has thus procured, forgives his unfaithful fervanu. 
Many have confidered the Alchemift to be the belt of Jonfon's dramas. 
"Epiccene, or the Silent Woman," which belongs to the year 1609, is 
another fatirical picture of London fociety, in which the fame clafs of 
characters appear. Morofe, an eccentric gentleman of fortune, who has 
a great horror for noife, and even obliges his fervants to communicate 
with him by figns, has a nephew, a young knight named Sir Dauphine 
Eugenie, with whom he is diflatisfied, and he refufes to allow him money 
for his fupport. A plot is laid by his friends, whereby the uncle is led 
into a marriage with a fuppofed filent woman, named Epiccene, but ibe 
only fuftains the character until the wedding formalities are completed, 
and thefe are followed by a fcene of noife and riot, which completely 
horrifies Morofe, and leads to a reconciliation with his nephew, to whom 
he makes over half his fortune. The earlier!: of Ben Jonfon's comedies, 
" Every Man in his Humour," was compofed in its prefent form in 1598, 
and is the firft of thefe dramatic fatires on the manners and character of 
the citizens of London, of whom it was famionable at the courts of 
James I. and Charles I. to fpeak contemptuously. Kno'well, an old 
gentleman of refpectability, is highly difpleafed with his fon Edward, 
becaufe the latter has taken to writing poetry, and has formed a friendfhip 
with another gentleman of his own age, who loves poetry and frequents 
the rather gay fociety of the poets and wits of the town. Wellbred has 
a half-brother, a "plain fquire," named Downright, and a utter married 
to a rich city merchant named Kitely. Kitely, the merchant, who is 
extremely jealous of his wife, has a great defire to reform Wellbred, and 
draw him to a fteadier line of life, a fentiment in which Downright 


heartily joins. Kitely's jealousy, and the steps taken to reform Wellbred, 
lead to the moll comic parts of the play, which concludes with the 
marriage of young Kno'well to Kitely's daughter, Mils Bridget, and his 
reconciliation with his father. Among the other characters in the piece 
are captain Bobadil, " a blustering coward," juftice Clement, " an old 
merry magistrate," his clerk, Roger Formal, and a country gull and a 
town gull. 

Thefe comedies of London life became popular, and continued fo 
during -this and the following reign — in fact, the mats of thofe who 
attended the theatres could understand and appreciate them better than 
any others, and, what was more, they felt them. Among Jonfon's con- 
temporaries in the literature of this Englilh comedy were Middleton and 
Thomas Hey wood, both very prolific writers, Chapman, and Marfton. 
Certain claffes of characters are continually repeated in this comedy, 
becaufe they belonged efpecially to the London fociety of the time, but 
the employment and distribution of thefe characters admitted of great 
variations, and they perhaps often had at the time a fpecial intereil, as 
reprefenting known individuals, or as being combined in a plot which 
was built upon real incidents in London life. Among thefe were ufually 
a country gentleman of fortune, who was very avaricious, and had a 
fpendthrift fon, or who had a daughter, a rich heirefs, who was the object 
of the intrigues of fpendthrift fuitors ; young heirs, who have just come to 
their estates, and are fpending them in London ; young country fquires 
who are eafy victims ; a needy knight, as poor in principles as in money, 
who lived upon the public in every way he could ; defigning and unfcru- 
pulous women ; bullies and {harpers of every defcription. In fact, we 
feem to be always in the fmell of the tavern, and in the midst of dissipa- 
tion. Then there are fat, fleek, and wealthy citizens, whofe fouls are 
entirely wrapt up in their merchandife, who are proud, neverthelefs, of 
their position ; and eafy, credulous city wives, who are fond of finery and 
of praife, eager for gaiety and difplay, impatient of the rule of hufbands, 
or of the dulnefs of home, and very ready to listen to the advances of the 
gay gallants from the court end of the town, or from the tavern. The 
city tradefman has generally an apprentice or two, fometimes very fober, 


380 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

but perhaps more frequently diffipated, who play their parts in the piece ; 
and often a daughter, who is either a model of modefty and all the 
domeftic virtues, and is finally the reward of fome hero of good principles, 
who has been temporarily led aftray, and his character misinterpreted, or 
who is gay and intriguing, and comes to difgrace. But the favourite 
idea of excellence, or, to ufe a technical phrafe, the beau ideal of this 
comedy, appears to have been a wild youth, who goes through every 
fcene of diflipation, in a gentlemanly manner (as the term was then under- 
flood), and comes out at the end of the play as an honeft, virtuous man, and 
receives the reward for qualities which he had not previoufly difplayed. 

Sometimes the writers of this comedy indulged in perfonal, or even 
in political, allufions which brought them into trouble. In the year 
1605, Ben Jonfon, George Chapman, ^«nd John Marfton, wrote jointly a 
comedy entitled "Eaftward Hoe." It is a very excellent and amufing 
comedy, and was very popular. Touchftone, an honeft goldfmith in the 
city, has two apprentices, Golding, a fober and industrious youth, and 
Quickfilver, who is an irreclaimable rake. Touchftone has alfo two 
daughters, the eldeft of whom, Gertrude, affects the fine lady, and is 
ambitious of finding a hufband in the fafhionable world, while her 
younger lifter, Mildred, is all virtue and humility. An attachment arifes 
between Golding and Mildred. Another character in this drama is a 
needy, fcheming knight, who lives upon the town, and rejoices in the name 
of Sir Petronel Flafh. Sir Petronel is attracted by the rich dowry which 
the young lady, Gertrude, had to expect, pays his court to her, and eafily 
works upon her vanity; and, her mother encouraging her, they are haftily 
married, contrary to the wiihes of her father. The knight is fuppofed to 
poffefs a magnificent caftle fomewhere to the eaft of London, and the young 
bride and her mother proceed in fearch of this, from which the comedy 
derives its title of " Eaftward Hoe," but they are involved in various dis- 
agreeable adventures in the fearch, which ends in the conviction that it is 
all a fable. Another character in the play is a greedy and unprincipled 
ufurer, who is fo jealous of his young and pretty wife, that he keeps her 
under lock and key; and this man is deeply involved in money-lending 
with Sir Petronel Flafh, and they are engaged in a feries of unprincipled 

tran factions, 

in Literature and Art. 381 

tranfactions, which lead to the difgrace of them all, and in the courfe of 
which the virtue of the ufurer's wife falls a facrifice. Meanwhile the 
fortunes of the two apprentices have been advancing in directly oppofite 
directions. Quickfilver, the unworthy apprentice, leaves his mailer, pro- 
ceeds from bad to worfe, and finally is committed to prifon, for a crime 
the punifhment of which was death. On the other hand, Golding has 
not only gained his mailer's efteem and married his daughter Mildred, and 
been adopted as the heir to his wealth, but he has merited the refpedt of 
his fellow-citizens, and has been promoted in municipal rank. It becomes 
Golding's duty to prefide over the trial of his old fellow apprentice Quick- 
filver, but the latter efcapes through Golding's generality. 

There is fome found morality in the fpirit of this comedy, and a very 
large amount of immorality in the text. There was, indeed, a coarfe 
licence in the relations of fociety at this period, which are but too faith- 
fully reprefented in its literature. But there are two circumilances, acci- 
dentally attached to this drama, which give it a peculiar interefl. When 
brought out upon the llage it contained reflections upon Scotchmen 
which provoked the anger of king James I. to fuch a degree, that all the 
authors were feized and thrown into prifon, and narrowly efcaped the lofs 
of their ears and nofes, but they obtained their releafe with fome diffi- 
culty, and only through powerful interceffion. In the copy which has 
been brought down to us through the prefs, we find no reflections what- 
ever upon Scotchmen, fo that it mull have been altered from the original 
text. When we confider that, at this time, the Englifh court and capital 
were crowded with needy Scottiih adventurers, who were looked upon 
with great jealoufy, it is not improbable that in the original form of the 
comedy, Sir Petronel FlaQi may have been a Scotchman, and intended 
not only as a fatire upon the Scottiih adventurers in general, but to have 
been defigned for fome one in particular who had the means of bringing 
upon the authors the extreme difpleafure of the court. 

The other circumllance which has given celebrity to this comedy, is 
one of Hill greater interell. After the Relloration, it was new modelled 
by Nicholas Tate, and brought again upon the ilage under the title of 
" Cuckold's Haven." Perhaps through this remodelled edition, Hogarth 


382 Hift or y of Caricature and Grot ef que 

took from the comedy of " Eallward Hoe," the idea of his feries of plates 
of the hiftory of the Idle and Induftrious Apprentices. 

When we confider the ridicule which was continually thrown upon 
them in this earlier period of the Engliih comedy, we can ealily under- 
fland the bitternefs with which the Puritans regarded the ftage and the 
drama. When they obtained power, the flage, as might be expected, 
was fuppreffed, and for fome years England was without a theatre. At 
the Reftoration, however, the theatres were opened again, and with 
greater freedom than ever. At firft the old comedies of the days of 
James I. and Charles I. were revived, and many of them, modified and 
adapted to the new circumftances, were again brought upon the flage. 
The original comedies which appeared immediately after the Reftoration, 
were often marked with a political tinge; as the ftage faw its natural pro- 
tectors in the court, and in the court party, it embraced their politics; and 
Puritans, Roundheads, Whigs, all whofe principles were fuppofed to be con- 
trary to royalty and arbitrary power, fell under its fatire. Such was the 
character of the comedy of "The Cheats," by a play-writer of fome repute 
named Wilfon, which was brought out in 1662. The obje6t of this play 
appears to have been, in the firft place, to fatirife the Nonconforming or 
Puritanical clergy — with whom were claffed the aftrologers and conjurers, 
who had increafed in number during the Commonwealth time, and infefted 
fociety more than ever — and the city magiftrates, who were not looked 
upon as being generally over-loyal. The three cheats who are the heroes 
of this comedy, are Scruple, the Nonconformift, Mopus, a pretender to 
phyfic and aftrology, and alderman Whitebroth. Direct perfonal attacks 
had been introduced into the comedy of the Reftoration, and it is probable 
that fomebody of influence was fatirifed under the name of Scruple, for 
the play was fupprefled by authority, and at a later period, when it was 
revived, the prologue announces this fa£t in the following words : — 

Sad nevus, my majlers ,* and too true, I fear , 
For us — Scruple - "* afilencd minifter. 
Would ye the caufe ? The brethren fni'vel, and fay, 
' 'Tis fcandalous that any cheat but they. 

Many of the dramatifts of the Reftoration were men of good and 


in Literature and Art. 383 

ariftocratic families, witty and profligate cavaliers, who had returned from 
exile with their king. The family of the earl of Berkfhire produced no lefs 
than four writers of comedy, all brothers, Edward Howard, colonel Henry 
Howard, fir Robert Howard, and James Howard, while their filler, the 
lady Elizabeth Howard , was married to the poet Dryden. Edward Howard's 
firft dramatic piece was a tragi-comedy entitled "The Ufurper," which 
came out in 1668, and was intended as a fatire upon Cromwell. His beft 
known comedies were "The Man of Newmarket," and "Woman's 
Conqueft." Colonel Henry Howard compofed a comedy entitled " United 
Kingdoms/' which appears not to have been printed. To James Howard, 
the youngeft of the brothers, the play-going public, even then rather a 
large one, owed "The Englilh Mounfieur," and "All Miftaken, or the 
Mad Couple." Sir Robert Howard was the beft writer of the four, and 
wrote both tragedies and comedies, which were afterwards publifhed 
collectively. The bell of his comedies is " The Committee," which was 
firft brought on the ftage in i6f<. and through fome chance, certainly not 
by its merit, continued to be an acting play during the whole of the laft 

" The Committee " is by far the beft of the dramatic writings of the 
Howards. Its defign was to turn to ridicule the Commonwealth men and 
the Puritans. Colonel Blunt and colonel Carelefs are two royalifls, whofe 
eftates are in the hands of the committee of fequeftrations, and who repair 
to London for the purpofe of compounding for them. The chairman of 
the committee is a Mr. Day, a worldly-minded and fufficiently felfifh Puritan, 
but who is ruled by his more crafty and ftill lefs fcrupulous wife, a design- 
ing and very talkative woman. Both are of low origin, for Mrs. Day 
had been a kitchen-woman, and both are very proud and very tyrannical. 
Among the other principal characters are Abel Day, their fon, Obadiah, 
the clerk to the committee, a man in the intereft of the Days, and an 
Irifh fervant named Teague, who had been the fervant of Carelefs's dear 
friend, a royalill officer killed in battle, and whom the colonel finds in 
great diftrefs, and takes into his own fervice out of charity. The cha- 
racter of Teague is a very poor caricature upon an Irilhman, and his 
blunders and bulls are of a very fpiritlefs defcription. Here is an example. 


384 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

Teague has overheard the two colonels ftate that they fhould be obliged 
to take the Covenant, and exprefs their reluctance to do it, and in his 
inconfiderate zeal, he hurries away to try if he cannot take the covenant 
for them, and thus fave them a difagreeable operation. In the ftreet he 
meets a wandering bookfeller — a clafs of pedlars who were then common — 
and a fcene takes place which is belt, given in the words of the original : — 

Bookfeller. — New books, new books ! A Desperate Plot and Engage- 
ment of the Bloody Cavaliers ! Mr. Saltmarshe's Alarum to 
the Nation, after having been three days dead! Mercurius 
Britannicus — 

Teague. — How's that ? They cannot live in Ireland after they are 
dead three days ! 

Book. — Mercurius Britannicus, or the Weekly Post, or the Solemn 
League and Covenant ! 

Teag. — What is that you say ? Is it the Covenant you have ? 

Book. — Yes 5 what then, sir ? 

Teag. — Which is that Covenant? 

Book. — Why, this is the Covenant. 

Teag. — Well, I must take that Covenant. 

Book. — You take my commodities ? 

Teag. — I must take that Covenant, upon my soul, now. 

Book. — Stand off, sir, or I'll set you further ! 

Teag. — Well, upon my soul, now, I will take the Covenant for my 

Book. — Your master must pay me for't, then ! 

Teag. — I must take it first, and my master will pay you afterwards. 

Book. — You must pay me now. 

Teag. — Oh ! that I will [Knocks him down]. Now you're paid, you 
thief of the world. .Here's Covenants enough to poison the whole 
nation. {Exit. 

Book. — What a devil ails this fellow ? {Crying']. He did not come to 
rob me, certainly ; for he has not taken above two-pennywoi th of 
lamentable ware away; but I feel the rascal's fingers. I may 
light upon my wild Irishman again, and, if I do, I will fix him 
with some catchpole, that shall be worse than his own country 
bogs. [Exit. 

In the fequel, Teague is caught by the conftables, and is liberated at 
the interference of his mafter, who pays twopence for the book. The 
plot of the comedy is but a limple one, and is neither fkilfully nor natu- 
rally carried out. Colonel Blunt comes to London from Reading in the 


in Literature and Art. 385 

infide of a ftage-coach, having for his travelling companions Mrs. Day, 
her fuppofed daughter Ruth, and Arabella, a young lady whofe father is 
recently dead, leaving his eftates in the hands of the committee of fequef- 
trations. Ruth is, in truth, a young lady whofe eftates the Days have, 
under fimilar circumftances, robbed her of, and it is their defign to treat 
Arabella in the fame manner, under difguife of forcing her to marry their 
fon Abel, a vain filly lad. To effect this, as the committee itfelf requires 
fome influencing to engage them in the felfifh plans of their chairman, 
Day and his wife forge a letter from the exiled king, complimenting the 
former on his great power and influence and talents as a ftatefman, and 
offering him great rewards if he will fecretly promote his caufe. Day 
communicates this to the committee under the pretext that it is his duty 
to make them acquainted with all fuch perfidious defigns that might come 
to his knowledge, and they, convinced of his honefty and value to them, 
give up Arabella's eftates to the Days, and the falls entirely under their 
power. Meanwhile, on the one hand, Arabella has gained the confidence 
of Ruth, who makes her acquainted with the whole plot againft her and 
her eftates, and on the other, Ruth falls in love with colonel Carelefs, 
and colonel Blunt is fmitten with the charms of Arabella, and all this 
takes place in the committee room. Various incidents follow, which 
feem not very much to the purpofe, but at laft, as the marriage ot 
Arabella to Abel Day is prefTed forward, the two young ladies, although 
as yet they have hardly had an interview with the colonels, refolve to make 
their efcape from the houfe of the chairman of the committee, and fly to 
their lovers for protection. A fhort abfence from the houfe of Mr. and 
Mrs. Day and their fon together, prefents the defired opportunity, and 
Day having accidentally left his keys behind him, the idea fuggefts itfelf 
to Ruth to open his cabinet, and gain poflTeiTion of the deeds and papers 
of her own eftates and thofe of Arabella. As the had before this fecretly 
obferved the private drawer in which they were placed, fhe met with no 
difficulty in effecting her purpofe, and not only found thefe documents, 
but alfo with them the forged letter from the king, and fome letters 
addreffed to Day by young women whom he was fecretly keeping, and 
who demanded money for the fupport of children they had by him, and 

3- d alluded 

^86 Hijiory of Caricature and Grot ef que 


alluded to matters of a ftill more ferious character. Ruth takes poffeflion 
of all thefe, and thus laden, the two damfels hurry away, and reach 
without interruption the houfe where they were to meet the colonels. 
The Days return home immediately after the departure of their wards, 
and at once fufpe6t the real ftate of affairs, which is fully confirmed, 
when Mr. Day finds that his moll private drawer has been opened, and 
his moft important papers carried off. They immediately proceed in 
fearch of the fugitives, having fent orders for a detachment of foldiers to 
'amft them, and the houfe in which the lovers have taken refuge is fur- 
rounded before they have had time to efcape. Finding it ufelefs to 
attempt refiftance by force, the befieged call for a parley, and then Ruth 
frightens Day by acquainting him with the contents of the private 
letters the has become poffeffed of, and his wife by the knowledge me has 
obtained of the forged letter, which alfo fhe has in her poffeflion. The 
Days are thus overreached, and the play ends with a general reconciliation. 
The ladies are left with the titles of their eftates, and with their lovers, 
and we are left to fuppofe that they afterwards married, and were happy. 

The plot of "The Committee, »t will be feen, is not a very capital 
one, but the manner in which it is worked out is ftill worfe. The 
dialogue is extremely tame, and the incidents are badly interwoven. 
When I fay that the example of wit given above is the beft in the play, 
and that there are not many attempts at wit in it, it will hardly be 
thought that it could be amufing, and we cannot but feel aftonifhed at 
the popularity which it once enjoyed. This popularity, indeed, is only 
explained by the falhion of ridiculing the Puritans, which then prevailed 
fo ftrongly ; and it perhaps retained its place on the ftage during the laft 
century chiefly from the circumftance of its wanting the objectionable 
qualities which characterifed the written plays of the latter half of the 
feventeenth century. 

"The Committee" is, after all, one of the very beft comedies of the 
fchool of dramatifts reprefented by the brothers Howard. Contemporary 
with this fchool of flat comedies, there was a fchool of equally inflated 
tragedy, and both foon became objects of ridicule to the fatirifts of the day. 
Of thefe, one of the boldeft was George Villiers, duke of Buckingham, 


in Literature and Art. 387 

the fon of the favourite of king James I., and equally celebrated for his 
talents and his profligacy. Buckingham is faid to have planned and 
begun his fatirical comedy of " The Rehearfal " as early as the year 1663, 
and to have had it ready for reprefentation towards the December of 
1665, when the breaking out of the great plague caufed the theatres to 
be clofed. After this interruption its author, who was a defultory writer, 
appears to have laid it afide for fome time and then, new objects for 
fatire having prefented themfelves, he altered and modified it, and it was 
finally completed in 1671, when it was brought out at the Theatre 
Royal in Covent Garden. It is faid that Buckingham was affiled in the 
compofition of this fatire, but it is not Hated in what manner, by Butler, 
and by Martin Clifford, of the Charter-houfe. It is underftood that, in 
the firft form of his fatire, Buckingham had chofen the Hon. Edward 
Howard for its hero, and that he afterwards exchanged him for Sir 
William Davenant, but he finally fixed upon Dryden, whofe tragedies 
and comedies are certainly not the beft of his writings — poffibly fome 
perfonal pique may have had an influence in the felection. Neverthelefs, 
with Dryden, the Howards, Davenant, and one or two other writers of 
comedy, come in for their fhare of ridicule. Dryden, under the name of 
Bayes, has compofed a new drama, and a friend named Johnfon goes to 
witnefs the rehearfal of this play, taking with him a country friend of the 
name of Smith. The play itfelf is a piece of mockery throughout, made 
up of parodies, often very happy, on the different play-writers of the day, 
and efpecially upon Dryden ; and it is mixed up with a running converfation 
between Bayes, the author, and his two vifitors, which is full of fatirical 
humour. The firft part of the prologue explains to us fufficiently the 
fpirit in which this fatire was written. 

We might 'well call this port mock-play of ours 
A pojie made of weeds inflead of flowers } 
Vet fuch have been prefented to your nofes, 
And there are fuch, I fear, who thought ""em rofes. 
Would fome ofem were here, to fee this night 
What fuff it is in which they took delight. 
Here, brijk, infipid rogues, for wit, let fall 
Sometimes dull fenfe, but ofner none at all j 


388 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

There, f rutting heroes, with a grim-fafd train, 
Shalt brave the gods, in king Cambyjes vein. 
For (changing rules, of late, as if men writ 
Infpite of reafon, nature, art, and wit) 
Our poets make us laugh at tragedy, 
And with their comedies they make us cry. 

A fhort account of this fatire will, perhaps, be bell understood, if I 
explain that the antagonifm of two contending kings of Granada having 
been a favourite idea of Dryden in his tragedies, Buckingham is faid to 
have deligned to ridicule him in making two, not rival, but affociate kings 
of Brentford, though others fay that thefe two kings of Brentford were 
intended for a fneer upon king Charles II. and the duke of York. Thefe 
two kings are the heroes of B ayes' s play. The firft act of "The Rehearfal " 
confifts of a difcufiion between Bayes, Johnfon, and Smith, on the general 
character of the play, in which Bayes exhibits a large amount of vanity 
and fe If- confidence, faid to have been a characteriftic of all thefe play- 
writers of the earlier period of the Reftofation, and he informs them that 
he has " made a prologue and an epilogue, which may both ferve for 
either j that is, the prologue for the epilogue, or the epilogue for the 
prologue, (do you mark!) nay, they may both ferve, too, 'egad, for any 
other play as well as this." Smith obferves, "That's indeed artificial." 
Finally Bayes explains, that as other authors, in their prologues, fought to 
flatter and propitiate their audience, in order to gain their favourable 
opinion of the plot, he, on the contrary, intended to force their applaufe 
out of them by mere dint of terror, and for that purpofe, he had intro- 
duced as fpeakers of his prologue, no lefs perfonages than Thunder and 
Lightning. This prologue, difengagedfrom the remarks of Bayes and his 
friends, runs as follows :— 


Thun. — I am the bold Thunder. 

Light.— The brisk Lightning I. 

Thun. — I am the bravest Hector of the sky. 

Light.— And I fair Helen, that made Hector die, 

Thun. — I strike men down. 

Light. — I fire the town. 


in Literature and Art, 389 

Thun. — Let critics take heed how they grumble, 

For then I begin for to rumble. 
Light. — Let the ladies allow us their graces, 

Or I'll blast all the paint on their faces, 

And dry up their peter to soot. 
Thun. — Let the critics look to't. 
Light. — Let the ladies look to't. 
Thun.— For the Thunder will do't. 
Light. — For the Lightning will shoot. 
Thun. — I'll give you dash for dash. 
Light. — I'll give you flash for flash. 

Gallants, I'll singe your feather. 
Thun. — ni Thunder you together. 

Both. — Look to't, look to't ; we'll do't, we'll do't ; look to't ; we'll 
do't. [Twice or thrice repeated. 

Bayes calls this "but a flafh of a prologue," in reply to which, Smith 
obferves, "Yes ; 'tis ihort, indeed, but very terrible." It is a parody 
on a fcene in " The Slighted Maid," a play by Sir Robert Stapleton, 
where Thunder and Lightning were introduced, and their converfation 
begins in the fame words. But the poet has another difficulty on which 
he defires the opinion of his vifitors. " I have made," he fays, " one of 
the molt delicate, dainty fimiles in the whole world, 'egad, if I knew 
how to apply it. 'Tis," he adds, "an allufion to love." This is the 
fimile — 

So boar and few , tuken any ftorm is nigh 
Snuff up, and jmell it gathering in the sky ,• 
Boar beckons foio to trot in chefnut groves, 
And there conjummate their unfinijhed loves : 
Pen/I've in mud they ivalloiv all alone, 
Andjnore and gruntle to each others moan. 

It is a rather coarfe, but clever parody on a fimile in Dry den's " Conquefl 
of Granada," part ii. : — 

So tivo kind turtles, ivhen a ftorm is nigh, 
Look up, and fee it gathering in the sky; 
Each calls his mate to foelter in the groves, 
Leaving, in murmurs, their unfinijhed loves ; 
Perched on jome dropping branch, they fit alone, 
And coo, and hearken to each other's moan. 


390 Hiftory of Caricature and Grot ef que 

It is decided that the fimile mould be added to the prologue, for, as 
Johnfon remarks to Bayes, " Faith, 'tis extraordinary fine, and very applic- 
able to Thunder and Lightning, methinks, becaufe it fpeaks of a florin." 
In the fecond a6t we come to the opening of the play, the firft fcene 
confifting of whifpering, in ridicule of a fcene in Davenant's " Play-houfe 
to Let," where Drake fenior fays — 

Draw up your men. 

And in low whifpers give your orders out. 

In fact, the Gentleman-Ufher and the Phyfician of the two kings of 
Brentford appear upon the fcene alone, and difcufs a plot to dethrone the 
two kings of Brentford, which they communicate by whifpers into each 
other's ears, which are totally inaudible. In Scene ii., " Enter the two 
kings, hand in hand," and Bayes remarks to his vifitors, " Oh ! thefe are 
now the two kings of Brentford ; take notice of their flyle — 'twas never yet 
upon the flage j but, if you like it, I could make a fhift, perhaps, to mow 
you a whole play, writ all juft fo." The kings begin, rather familiarly, 
becaufe, as Bayes adds, "they are both perfons of the fame quality :" — 

ift King. — Did you observe their whispers, brother king ? 
znd King, — I did, and heard, besides, a grave bird sing, 

That they intend, sweetheart, to play us pranks. 
ifl King. — If that design appears, 

I'll lay them by the ears, 

Until I make 'em crack. 
znd King. — And so will I, i' fack ! 
jfl King. — You must begin, monfoi. 
Znd King. — Sweet sir, pardonnez moi. 

Bayes obferves that he makes the two kings talk French in order " to 
mow their breeding." In the third act, Bayes introduces a new 
character, prince Prettyman, a parody upon the character of Leonidas, in 
Dryden's " Marriage-a-la-Mode." The prince falls afleep, and then his 
beloved Cloris comes in, and is furprifed, upon which Bayes remarks, 
" Now, here lne muft make a fimile." " Where's the neceflity of that, 
Mr. Bayes ? " afks the critical Mr. Smith. " Oh," replies Bayes, " becaufe 
fhe's furprifed. That's a general rule. You mull ever make a fimile 


when you are furprifed $ 'tis a new way of writing." Now we have 
another parody upon one of Dryden's fimiles. In the fourth fcene, the 
Gentleman-Ufher and Phyncian appear again, difcuffing the queftion 
whether their whifpers had been heard or not, a difcuffion which they 
conclude by feizing on the two thrones, and occupying them with their 
drawn fwords in their hands. Then they march out to raife their forces, 
and a battle to mufic takes place, four foldiers on each fide, who are 
all killed. Next we have a fcene between prince Prettyman and his 
tailor, Tom Thimble, which involves a joke upon the princely principle 
of non-payment. A fcene or two follows in a fimilar tone, without at all 
advancing the plot ; although it appears that another prince, Volfcius, 
who, we are to fuppofe, fupports the old dynafty of Brentford, has made 
his efcape to Piccadilly, while the army which he is to lead has affembled, 
and is concealed, at Knightfbridge. This incident produces a difcuffion 
between Mr. Bayes and his friends : — 

Smith.— But pray, Mr. Bayes, is not this a little difficult, that you were 
saying e'en now, to keep an army thus concealed in Knights- 
bridge ? 

Bayes. — In Knightsbridge ? — stay. 

John/on. — No, not if inn- keepers be his friends.* 

Bayes. — His friends ? Ay, sir, his intimate acquaintance ; or else, 
indeed, I grant it could not be. 

Smith. — Yes, faith, so it might be very easy. 

Bayes. — Nay, if I don't make all things easy, 'egad, I'll give 'em leave 
to hang me. Now you would think that he is going out of town ; 
but you will see how prettily I have contrived to stop him, 

Accordingly, prince Volfcius yields to the influence of a fair demoifelle, 
who bears the claffical name of Parthenope, and after various exhibitions 
of hefitation, he does not leave town. Another fcene or two, with little 
meaning, but full of clever parodies on the plays of Dryden, the Howards, 
and their contemporaries. The rTrfr. fcene of the fourth act opens with a 
funeral , 

* Knightsbridge, as the principal entrance to London from the west, was full 
of inns. 

39 2 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

funeral, a parody upon colonel Henry Howard's play of the " United 
Kingdoms." Pallas interferes, brings the lady who is to be buried to life, 
gets up a dance, and furnifhes a very extempore feaft. The princes 
Prettyman and Volfcius difpute about their fweethearts. At the com- 
mencement of the fifth a6t the two ufurping kings appear in Hate, 
attended by four cardinals, the two princes, all the lady-loves, heralds, and 
fergeants-at-arms, 8cc. In the middle of all this flate, " the two right kings 
of Brentford defcend in the clouds, ringing, in white garments, and three 
fiddlers fitting before them in green." " Now," fays Bayes to his friends, 
" becaufe the two right kings defcend from above, I make 'em fing to the 
tune and ityle of our modern fpirits." And accordingly they proceeded 
in a continuous parody : — 

ift King. — Haste, brother king, we are sent from above. 
znd King. — Let us move, let us move ; 
Move, to remove the fate 
Of Brentford's long united state. 
ifl King. — Tara, tan, tara ! — full east and by south. 
ind King, — We sail with thunder in our mouth. 

In scorching noon-day, whilst the traveller stays, 

Busy, busy, busy, busy, we bustle along, 
Mounted upon warm Phoebus's rays, 
Through the heavenly throng, 
Hasting to those 
Who will feast us at night with a pig's pettytoes. 
ijl King. — And we'll fall with our plate 

In an olio of hate 
%nd King — But, now supper's done, the servitors try, 

Like soldiers, to storm a whole half-moon pie. 
ift King. — They gather, they gather, hot custards in spoons: 
But, alas ! I must leave these half-moons, 
And repair to my trusty dragoons. 
7.nd King. — O stay ! for you need not as yet go astray ; 

The tide, like a friend, has brought ships in our way, 
And on their high ropes we will play ; 
Like maggots in filberts, we'll snug in our shell, 
We'll frisk in our shell, 
We'll firk in our shell, 
And farewell. 
ift King. — But the ladies have all inclination to dance, 

And the green frogs croak out a coranto of France. 


in Literature and Art. 393 

All this is quite Ariftophanic. It is interrupted by a difcuffion between 
Bayes and his vifitors on the mufic and the dance, and then the two kings 
continue : — 

znd King. — Now mortals, that hear 
How we tilt and career, 
With wonder, will fear 
The event of such things as shall never appear. 
\ft King. — Stay you to fulfil what the gods have decreed. 
2nd King. — Then call me to help you, if there shall be need. 
xfi King. — So firmly resolved is a true Brentford king, 

To save the distressed, and help to 'em bring, 
That, ere a full pot of good ale you can swallow, 
He's here with a whoop, and gone with a halloo. 

The rather too inquifitive Smith wonders at all this, and complains that, 
to him, the fenfe of this is " not very plain." " Plain !" exclaims Bayes, 
" why, did you ever hear any people in the clouds fpeak plain ? They 
mull be all for flight of fancy, at its full range, without the leaft check or 
control upon it. When once you tie up fprites and people in clouds to 
fpeak plain, you fpoil all." The two kings of Brentford now "light out 
of the clouds, and ftep into the throne," continuing the fame dignified 
converfation : — 

xfi King. — Come, now to serious council we'll advance. 
2nd King. — I do agree ; but first, let's have a dance. 

This confidence of the two kings of Brentford is fuddenly difturbed by 
the found of war. Two heralds announce that the army, that of Knightf-. 
bridge, had come to protect: them, and that it had come in difguife, an 
arrangement which puzzles the author's two vifitors : — 

xfi King. — What saucy groom molests our privacies ? 
xfi Herald. — The army's at the door, and, in disguise, 
Desires a word with both your majesties, 
2nd Herald. — Having from Knightsbridge hither march'd by stealth. 
ind King. — Bid 'em attend a while, and drink our health. 
Smith. — How, Mr. Bayes ? The army in disguise ! 
Bayes. — Ay, sir, tor fear the usurpers might discover them, that went 
out but just now. 

2 e War 

394 Hijlory of Caricature and Grot ef que 

■ War itfelf follows, and the commanders of the two armies, the general 
and the lieutenant-general, appear upon the ftage in another parody upon 
the opening fcenes of Dryden's " Siege of Rhodes :" — 

Enter, at federal doors, the GENERAL and LlEUTENANT-GENERAL, 
armed cap-a-pie, ivith each a lute in his hand, and his fword drawn, and hung ivith 
a fear let riband at the ivriji. 

Lieut.-Gen. — Villain, thou liest. 

Gen. — Arm, arm, Gonsalvo, arm. What ! ho ! 

The lie no flesh can brook, I trow. 
Lieut.-Gen. — Advance from Acton with the musqueteers. 
Gen. — Draw down the Chelsea cuirassiers. 
Lieut.-Gen. — The band you boast of, Chelsea cuirassiers, 

Shall in my Putney pikes now meet their peers. 
Gen. — Chiswickians, aged, and renowned in fight, 

Join with the Hammersmith brigade. 
Lieut.-Gen. — You'll find my Mortlake boys will do them right, 

Unless by Fulham numbers over-laid. 
Gen. — Let the left wing of Twick'n'am foot advance, 

And line that eastern hedge. 
Lieut.-Gen. — The horse I raised in Petty France 
Shall try their chance, 

And scour the meadows, overgrown with sedge. 
Gen. — Stand : give the word. 
Lieut.-Gen. — Bright sword. 
Gen. — That may be thine, 

But 'tis not mine. 
Lieut.-Gen. — Give fire, give fire, at once give fire, 

And let those recreant troops perceive mine ire. 
Gen. — Pursue, pursue ; they fly, 

That first did give the lie ! [Exeunt. 

Thus the battle is carried on in talk between two individuals. Bayes 
alleges, as an excufe for introducing thefe trivial names of places, that 
" the fpedators know all thefe towns, and may ealily conceive them to 
be within the dominions of the two kings of Brentford." The battle is 
finally flopped by an eclipfe, and three perfonages, reprefenting the fan, 
moon, and earth, advance upon the llage, and by dint of finging and 
manoeuvring, one gets in a line between the other two, and this, accord- 
ing to the ftricl rules of aftronomy, conftituted the eclipfe. The eclipfe is 
followed by another battle of a more defperate character, to which a flop 



Literature and Art. 395 

is put in an equally extraordinary manner, by the entrance of the furious 
hero Drawcanfir, who flays all the combatants on both fides. The 
marriage of prince Prettyman was to form the fubje6t of the fifth ad, but 
while Bayes, Johnfon, and Smith withdraw temporarily, all the players, in 
difguft, run away to their dinners, and thus ends "The Rehearfal " of 
Mr. Bayes's play. The epilogue returns to the moral which the play was 
defigned to inculcate : — 

The play is at an end, but "whereas the plot f 
That circumftance the poet Bayes forgot. 
And ive can boajl, though 'tis a plotting age, 
No place is freer from it than the Jiage. 

Formerly people fought to write fo that they might be underflood, but 
" this new way of wit " was altogether incomprehenfible : — 

Wherefore, for ours, and for the kingdom' 's peace, 
May this prodigious ivay of writing ceafe ; 
Lefs have, at leajl once in our lives, a time 
When ive may hear fome reafon, not all rhyme. 
We have this ten years felt its influence ; 
Pray let this prove a year of prof e and fenfe. 

Engliih comedy was certainly greatly reformed, in fome fenfes of the 
word reform, during the period which followed the publication of " The 
Rehearfal," and, in the hands of writers like Wycherley, Shadwell, 
Congreve, and D'Urfey, the dulnefs of the Howards was exchanged 
for an extreme degree of vivacity. The plot was as little confidered as 
ever — it was a mere peg on which to hang fcenes brilliant with wit and 
repartee. The fmall intrigue is often but a frame for a great picture of 
fociety in its forms then moil open to caricature, with all the petty 
intrigues infeparable from it. " Epfom Wells," one of Shadwell's earlier 
comedies, and perhaps his belt, will bear comparifon with Jonfon's 
" Bartholomew Fair." The perfonages reprefented in it are exactly thofe 
which then fhone in fuch fociety — three " men of wit and pleafure," one 
of the clafs of country fquires whom the wits of London loved to laugh at, 
and who is defcribed as "a country jufiice, a public fpirited, politick, 


396 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

difccntented fop, an immoderate hater of London, and a lover of the 
country above meafure, a hearty true Englifh coxcomb." Then we have 
" two cheating, marking, cowardly bullies." The citizens of London are 
reprefented by Biiket, " a comfit-maker, a quiet, humble, civil cuckold, 
governed by his wife, whom he very much fears and loves at the fame 
time, and is very proud of," and Fribble, " a haberdalher, a furly cuckold, 
very conceited, and proud of his wife, but pretends to govern and keep 
her under," and their wives, the nrft " an impertinent, imperious {trumpet," 
and the other, " an humble, fubmitting wife, who jilts her hufband that 

way, a very " One or two other characters of the fame ftamp, 

with " two young ladies of wit, beauty, and fortune," who behave them- 
felves not much better than the others, and a full allowance of " parfons, 
hectors, conftables, watchmen, and fiddlers," complete the dramatis 
perfonce of "Epfom Wells." With fuch materials anybody will under- 
ftand the character of the piece, which was brought out on the flage in 
1672. "The Squire of Alfatia," by the fame author, brought upon the 
flage in the eventful year 1688, is a vivid picture of one of the wildeft 
phafes of London life in thofe ftill rather primitive times. Alfatia, as 
every reader of Walter Scott knows, was a cant name for the White 
Friars, in London, a locality which, at that time, was beyond the reach of 
the law and its officers, a refuge for thieves and rogues, and efpecially for 
debtors, where they could either refill with no great fear of being over- 
come, or, when refinance was no longer poffible, efcape with eafe. With 
fuch a fcene, and fuch people for characters, we are not furprifed that the 
printed edition of this play is prefaced by a vocabulary' of the cant words 
employed in it. The principal characters in the play are of the fame clals 
with thofe which form the ftaple of all thefe old comedies. Firft there is 
a country father or uncle, who is rich and fevere upon the vices of youth, 
or arbitrary, or avaricious. He is here reprefented by fir William Belfond, 
"a gentleman of about ^3000 per annum, who in his youth had been a 
fpark of the town; but married and retired into the country, where he 
turned to the other extreme — rigid, morofe, moft fordidly covetous, 
clownifh, obllinate, pofitive, and forward." He muft have a London brother, 
or near relative, endowed with exactly contrary qualities, here reprefented 


in Literature and Art. 397 

by fir Edward Belfond, fir William's brother, " a merchant, who by 
lucky hits had gotten a great eftate, lives fingle with eafe and pleafure, 
reafonably and virtuoufly, a man of great humanity and gentlenefs and 
companion towards mankind, well read in good books, polfefifed with all 
gentlemanlike qualities." Sir William Belfond has two Tons. Belfond 
fenior, the eldefi, is " bred after his father's ruftic, fwiniih manner, with 
great rigour and feverity, upon whom his father's eftate is entailed, the 
confidence of which makes him break out into open rebellion to his 
father, and become lewd, abominably vicious, ftubborn, and obftinate." 
The younger Belfond, Sir William's fecond fon, had been " adopted by 
Sir Edward, and bred from his childhood by him, with all the tendernefs 
and familiarity, and bounty, and liberty that can be 5" he was "inftru&ed 
in all the liberal fciences, and in all gentleman-like education 3 fomewhat 
given to women, and now and then to good fellowfhip ; but an ingenious, 
well-accomplifhed gentleman 3 a man of honour, and of excellent difpo- 
fition and temper." Then we have fome of the leading heroes of 
Alfatia, and firft Cheatly, who is defcribed as " a rafcal, who by reafon of 
debts, dares not ftir out of Whitefryers, but there inveigles young heirs 
in tail 3 and helps 'em to goods and money upon great difadvantages ; is 
bound for them, and fhares with them, till he undoes them 3 a lewd, 
impudent, debauched fellow, very expert in the cant about the town." 
Shamweil is "coufin to the Belfonds, an heir, who, being ruined by 
Cheatly, is made a decoy-duck for others 3 not daring to ftay out of 
Alfatia, where he lives 3 is bound with Cheatly for heirs, and lives upon 
them, a diffolute, debauch'd life." Another of thefe characters is captain 
Hackum, "a. block-headed bully of Alfatia 3 a cowardly, impudent, 
bluftering fellow ; formerly a fergeant in Flanders, run from his colours, 
retreating into Whitefryers for a very fmall debt 3 where by the Alfatians 
he is dubb'd a captain 3 marries one that lets lodgings, fells cherry-brandy, 
and is a bawd." Nor is Alfatia without a reprefentative of the Puritanical 
part of fociety, in Scrapeall, " a hypocritical, repeating, praying, pfalm- 
finging, precife fellow, pretending to great piety 3 a godly knave, who 
joins with Cheatly, and fupplies young heirs with goods and money." A 
rather large number of inferior chara6ters fill up the canvas 3 and the 


398 Hijiory of Caricature and Grot ef que 

females, with two exceptions, belong to the fame clafs. The plot of this 
play is very Simple. The elder fon of fir William Belfond has taken to 
Alfatia, but fir William, on his return from abroad, hearing talk of the 
fame of a fquire Belfond among the Alfatians, imagines that it is his 
younger fon, and out of this mistake a confiderable amount of mifunder- 
ftanding arifes. At laft fir William difcovers his error, and finds his 
eldeSt fon in Whitefryers, but the youth fets him at defiance. The father, 
in great anger, brings tipftaff constables, to take away his fon by force ; 
but the Alfatians rife in force, the. officers of the law are beaten, and fir 
William himfelf taken prifoner. He is refcued by the younger Belfond, 
and in the conclusion the elder brother becomes penitent, and is 
reconciled with his father. There is an underplot, far from moral in its 
character, which ends in the marriage of Belfond junior. It is a bufy, 
noify play, and was a great favourite on the ilage ; but it is now chiefly 
interesting as a vivid picture of London life in the latter half of the 
feventeenth century. "Bury Fair," by Shadwell, is another comedy 
of the fame defcription 3 with little intereft in the plot, but full of 
life and movement. If " The Squire of Alfatia " was noify, " The 
Scowrers," another comedy by the fame author, firtt brought on the 
Stage in 1691, was Still more fo. The wild and riotous gallants who, 
in former times of inefficient police regulation, infeSied the Streets at 
night, and committed all forts of outrages, were known at different periods 
by a variety of names. In the reign of James I. and Charles I. they 
were the " roaring boys ;" in the time of Shadwell, they were called the 
" fcowrers," becaufe they fcowered the Streets at night, and rather roughly 
cleared them of all paflengers ; a few years later they took the name of 
Mohocks, or Mohawks. During the night London lay at the mercy of 
thefe riotous claifes, and the Streets witneSTed fcenes of brutal violence, 
which, at the prefent day, we can hardly imagine. This State of things 
is pictured in Shadwell's comedy. Sir William Rant, Wildfire, and 
Tope, are noted fcowrers, well known in the town, whofe fame has 
excited emulation in men of lefs distinction in their way, Whachum, 
"a city wit and fcowrer, imitator of fir William," and " two fcoundrells," 
his companions, BluSter and Dingboy. Great enmity arifes between the 


in Literature and Art. 399 

two parties of rival fcowrers. The more ferious characters in the play 
are Mr. Rant, fir William Rant's father, and fir Richard Maggot, " a 
fooliih Jacobite alderman " (it muft be remembered that we are now in 
the reign of king William). Sir Richard's wife, lady Maggot, like the 
citizen's wives of the comedy of the Refloration generally, is a lady rather 
wanting in virtue, ambitious of mixing with the gay and faihionable 
world, and fomewhat of a tyrant over her hufband. She has two hand- 
fome daughters, whom lhe feeks to keep confined from the world, left 
they fhould become her rivals. There are low characters of both fexes, 
who need not be enumerated. Much of the play is taken up with ftreet 
rows, capital fatirical pictures of London life. The play ends with 
marriages, and with the reconciliation of fir William Rant with his 
father, the ferious old gentleman of the play. Shadwell excelled in thefe 
buiy comedies. One of the neareil approaches to him is Mountfort's 
comedy of " Greenwich Park," which is another firiking fatire on the 
loofenefs of London life at that time. As in the others, the plot is limply 
nothing. The play confifts of a number of intrigues, fuch as may be 
imagined, at a time when morality was little refpected, in places of 
fafhionable refort like Greenwich Park and Deptford Wells. 

An element of fatire was now introduced into Englifh comedy which 
does not appear to have belonged to it before — this was mimicry. 
Although the principal characters in the play bore conventional names, 
they appear often to have been intended to reprefent individuals then 
well known in fociety, and thefe individuals were caricatured in their 
drefs, and mimicked in their language and manners. We are told that 
this mimicry contributed greatly to the fuccefs of "The Rehearfal," the 
duke of Buckingham having taken incredible pains to make Lacy, who 
acted the part of Bayes, perfect in imitating the voice and manner of 
Dryden, whofe drefs and gait were minutely copied. This perfonal fatire 
was not always performed with impunity. On the ifl: of February, 1669, 
Pepys went to the Theatre Royal to fee the performance of "The 
Heirefs," in which it appears that fir Charles Sedley was perfonally 
caricatured, and the fecretary of king Charles's admiralty has left in his 
diary the following entry : — " To the king's houfe, thinking to have feen 


4-00 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

the HeyrefTe, firft a6ted on Saturday, but when we come thither we find 
no play there ; Kynafton, that did act a part therein in abufe to fir 
Charles Sedley, being laft night exceedingly beaten with flicks by two or 
three that faluted him, fo as he is mightily bruifed, and forced to keep 
his bed." It is faid that Dryden's comedy of " Limberham," brought 
on the ftage in 1678, was prohibited after the firft night, becaufe the 
character of Limberham was confidered to be too open a fatire on the 
duke of Lauderdale. 

Another peculiarity in the comedies of the age of the Reftoration was 
their extraordinary indelicacy. The writers feemed to emulate each 
other in prefenting upon the ftage fcenes and language which no modeft 
ear or pure mind could fupport. In the earlier period coarfenefs in con- 
verfation was characteriftic of an unpoliihed age — the language put in 
the mouths of the actors, as remarked before, fmelt of the tavern 5 but 
under Charles II. the tone of fafhionable fociety, as reprefented on the 
ftage, is modelled upon that of the brothel. Even the veiled allufion is 
no longer reforted to, broad and direct language is fubftituted in its place. 
This open profligacy of the ftage reached its greateft height between the 
years 1670 and 1680. The ftaple material of this comedy may be con- 
fidered to be the commiilion of adultery, which is prefented as one of the 
principal ornaments in the character of the well-bred gentleman, varied 
with the feducing of other men's miftrefTes, for the keeping of miftreffes 
appears as the rule of focial life. The " Country Wife," one of 
Wycherley's comedies, which is fuppofed to have been brought on the 
ftage perhaps as early as 1672, is a mafs of grofs indecency from beginning 
to end. It involves two principal plots, that of a voluptuary who feigns 
himfelf incapable of love and infenfible to the other fex, in order to 
purfue his intrigues with greater liberty ; and that of a citizen who takes 
to his wife a filly and innocent country girl, whofe ignorance he believes 
will be a protection to her virtue, but the very means he takes to prevent 
her, lead to her fall. The " Parfon's Wedding," by Thomas Killigrew, 
firfl acted in 1673, is equally licentious. The fame at leaft may be faid of 
Dryden's "Limberham, or the Kind Keeper," firft performed in 1678, 
which, according to the author's own ftatement, was prohibited on account 


in Literature and Art. 40 1 

of its freeneis, but more probably becaufe the chara&er of Limberham 
was believed to be intended for a perfonal fatire on the unpopular earl of 
Lauderdale. Its plot is fimple enough ; it is the flory of a debauched 
old gentleman, named Aldo, whofe fon, after a rather long abience on 
the Continent, returns to England, and aflumes the name of Woodall, in 
order to enjoy freely the pleafures of London life before he makes himfelf 
known to his friends. He takes a lodging in a houfe occupied by fome 
loofe women, and there meets with his father, bat, as the latter does not 
recognife his fon, they become friends, and live together licentiously fo 
long, that when the fon at length difcovers himfelf, the old man is 
obliged to overlook his vices. Otway's comedy of " Friendship in Fafhion," 
performed the fame year, was not a whit more moral. But all thefe are 
far outdone by Ravenfcroft's comedy of "The London Cuckolds," firft 
brought out in 1682, which, neverthelefs, continued to be a&ed until late 
in the laft century. It is a clever comedy, full of action, and coniifiing 
of a great number of different incidents, feledled from the lefs moral 
tales of the old ftory-tellers as they appear in the "Decameron" of 
Boccaccio, among which that of the ignorant and uneducated young wife, 
Similar to the plot of Wycherley's "Country Wife," is again introduced. 

The corruption of morals had become fo great, that when women took 
up the pen, they exceeded in licentioufnefs even the other fex, as was 
the cafe with Mrs. Behn. Aphra Behn is underftood to have been born 
at Canterbury, but to have paffed fome part of her youth in the colony 
of Surinam, of which her father was governor. She evidently pcfTefTed 
a difpofition for intrigue, and fhe was employed by the Englifh govern- 
ment, a few years after the Reftoration, as a political fpy at Antwerp. 
She fubfe que ntly fettled in London, and gained a living by her pen, which 
was very prolific in novels, poems, and plays. It would be difficult to 
point out in any other works fuch fcenes of open profligacy as thofe pre- 
fented in Mrs. Behn's two comedies of" Sir Patient Fancy" and "The 
City Heirefs, or Sir Timothy Treat-all," which appeared in 1678 and 
1 68 1. Concealment of the flighted kind is avoided, and even that which 
cannot be expofed to view, is tolerably broadly defcribed. 

It appears that the performance of the " London Cuckolds " had 

2 f been 

402 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

been the caufe of fome fcandal, and there were, even among play-goers, 
fome who took offence at fuch outrages on the ordinary feelings of 
modefty. The excefs of the evil had begun to produce a reaction. 
Ravenfcroft, the author of that comedy, produced on the ftage, in 1684, 
a comedy, entitled " Dame Dobfon, or the Cunning Woman," which 
was intended to be a modeft play, but it was unceremoniously " damned " 
by the audience. The prologue to this new comedy intimates that the 
" London Cuckolds " had pleafed the town and diverted the court, but 
that fome " fqueamifh females " had taken offence at it, and that he had 
now written a " dull, civill " play to make amends. They are addreffed, 
therefore, in fuch terms as thefe : — 

In you, chajie ladies, then tve hope to-day, 

This is the poet's recantation play. 

Come often to V, that he at length may fee 

1 Tis more than a pretended modejiy. 

Stick by him noiv,for if 'he finds you falter , 

He quickly ivill his ivay ofivriting alter ; 

And every play pall fend you blujhing home, 

For, though you rail, yet then ive^re fure you'' 11 come. 

And it is further intimated, - 

A naughty play ivas never counted dull — 
Nor modejl comedy e^er pleafed you much. 

"I remember," fays Colley Cibber in his "Apology," looking back to thefe 
times, "I remember the ladies were then obferved to be decently afraid 
of venturing bare-faced to a new comedy, till they had been affured they 
might do it without the rifk of an infult to their modefty ; or if their 
curiofity were too ftrong for their patience, they took care at leaft to fave 
appearances, and rarely came upon the firft days of acting but in mafks 
(then daily worn, and admitted in the pit, the iide boxes, and gallery), 
which cuftom, however, had fo many ill confequences attending it, that it 
has been aboliihed thefe many years." According to the Spectator, ladies 
began now to defert the theatre when comedies were brought out, except 
thofe who " never mifs the firft day of a new play, left it mould prove too 
lufcious to admit of their going with any countenance to the fecond." 


in Literature and Art. 403 

In the midft of this abufe, there fuddenly appeared a book which 
created at the time a great fenfation. The comedies of the latter half of 
the feventeenth century were not only indecent, but they were filled 
with profane language, and contained fcenes in which religion itfelf was 
treated with contempt. At that time there lived a divine of the Church 
of England, celebrated for his Jacobitifm — for I am now fpeaking of the 
reign of king William — for his talents as a controversial writer, and for 
his zeal in any caufe which he undertook. This was Jeremy Collier, the 
author of feveral books of fome merit, which are feldom read now, and 
who fuffered for his zeal in the caufe of king James, and for his refufal to 
take the oath of allegiance to king William. In the year 1698 Collier 
published his " Short View of the Immorality and Profanenefs of the 
Englifh ftage," in which he boldly attacked the licentioufnefs of the 
Englifh comedy. Perhaps Collier's zeal carried him a little too far ; but 
he had offended the wits, and efpecially the dramatic poets, on all fides, 
and he was expofed to attacks from all quarters, in which Dry den himfelf 
took an active part. Collier fhowed himfelf fully capable of dealing with 
his opponents, and the controverfy had the effect of calling attention to 
the immoralities of the ftage, and certainly contributed much towards 
reforming them. They were become much lefs frequent and lefs grofs at 
the opening of the eighteenth century. 

Towards the end of the reign of king Charles II., the ftage was more 
largely employed as a political agent, and under his fucceffor, James II., 
the Puritans and the Whigs were constantly held up to fcorn. After the 
Revolution, the tables were turned, and the fatire of the ftage was often 
aimed at Tories and Non-jurors. "The Non-juror," by Colley Cibber, 
which appeared in 1717, at a very opportune moment, gained for its 
author a penfion and the office of poet-laureate. It was founded upon the 
"Tartuffe" of Moliere, for the Englifh comedy writers borrowed much 
from the foreign ftage. A difguifed prieft, who paffes under the name of 
Dr. Wolf, and who had been engaged in the rebellion of 17 15, has in- 
sinuated himfelf into the houfehold of a gentleman of fortune, of not very 
ftrong judgment, Sir John Woodvil, whom, under the title of a Non-juror, 
he has not only induced to become an abettor of rebels, but he has 


404 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

perfuaded him to dilinherit his fon, and he labours to feduce his wife and 
to deceive his daughter. His bafenefs is expofed onlyjuft foon enough to 
defeat his defigns. Such a production as this could not fail to give great 
offence to all the Jacobite party, of whatever fhade, who were then rather 
numerous in London, and Cibber allures us that his reward was a con - 
fiderable amount of adverfe criticifm in every quarter where the Tory 
influence reached. His comedies were inferior in brilliance of dialogue 
to thofe of the previous age, but the plots were well imagined and 
conducted, and they are generally good a6ting plays. 

To Samuel Foote, born in 1722, we owe the lafl change in the form 
and character of Englifh comedy. A man of infinite wit and humour, 
and pofTefTed of extraordinary talent as a mimic, Foote made mimicry 
the principal inftrument of his fuccefs on the ftage. His plays are above 
all light and amuflngj he reduced the old comedy of five acts to three 
acts, and his plots were ufually flmple, the dialogue full of wit and 
humour ; but their peculiar characterise was their open boldnefs of per- 
fonal fatire. It is entirely a comedy of his own. He fought to direct 
his wit againft all the vices of fociety, but this he did by holding up to 
ridicule and fcorn the individuals who had in fome way or other made 
themfelves notorious by the practice of them. All his principal characters 
were real characters, who were more or lefs known to the public, and 
who were fo perfectly mimicked on the ftage in their drefs, gait, and 
ipeech, that it was impoffible to miilake them. Thus, in " The Devil 
upon Two Sticks," which is a general fatire on the low condition to which 
the practice of medicine had then fallen, the perfonages introduced in it 
all reprefented quacks well known about the town. "The Maid of Bath" 
dragged upon the ftage fcandals which were then the talk of Bath fociety. 
The nabob of the comedy which bears that title, had alfo his model 
in real life. " The Bankrupt " may be considered as a general fatire on 
the bafenefs of the newfpaper prefs of that day. which was made the 
means of propagating private fcandals and libellous accufations in order to 
extort money, yet the characters introduced are faid to have been all 
portraits from the lite ; and the fame flatement is made with regard to 
the comedy of " The Author." 


in Literature and Art. 4.05 

It is evident that a drama of this inquifitorial character is a dangerous 
thing, and that it could hardly be allowed to exift where the rights of 
fociety are properly defined ; and we are not furprifed if Foote provoked 
a hofl of bitter enemies. But in fome cafes the author met with punifh- 
ment of a heavier and more fubftantial defcription. One of the individuals 
introduced into "The Maid of Bath," extorted damages to the amount 
of ^3,000. One of the perfons who figured in "The Author," obtained 
an order from the lord chamberlain for putting a flop to the performance 
after it had had a fhort run ; and the confequences of " The Trip to 
Calais," were frill more difaftrous. It is well known that the character of 
lady Kitty Crocodile in that play was a broad caricature on the notorious 
duchefs of Kingflon. Through the treachery of fome of the people 
employed by Foote, the duchefs obtained information of the nature of 
this play before it was ready for reprefentation, and fhe had fufficient 
influence to obtain the lord chamberlain's prohibition for bringing it on 
the ftage. Nor was this all, for as the play was printed, if not acted, — and 
it was fubfequently brought out in a modified form, with omiflion of the 
part of lady Kitty Crocodile, though the characters of fome of her agents 
were ftill retained, — infamous charges were got up againfl Foote, in 
retaliation, which caufed him fo much trouble and grief, that they are 
faid to have fhortened his days. 

The drama which Samuel Foote had invented did not outlive him ; 
its caricature was itfelf transferred to the caricature of the print-fhop. 

40 6 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 







MODERN political caricature, born, as we have feen, in France, 
maybe confidered to have had its cradle in Holland. The pofition 
of that country, and its greater degree of freedom, made it, in the feven- 
teenth century, the general place of refuge to the political difcon- 
tents of other lands, and efpecially to the French who fled from the 
tyranny of Louis XIV. It poffeffed at that time fome of the moft 
fkilful artifts and beft engravers in Europe, and it became the central fpot 
from which were launched a multitude of fatirical prints againft that 
monarch's policy, and againft himfelf and his favourites and minifters. 
This was in a great meafure the caufe of the bitter hatred which Louis 
always difplayed towards that country. He feared the caricatures of the 
Dutch more than their arms, and the pencil and graver of Romain de 
Hooghe were among the moft effective weapons employed by William of 

The marriage of William with Mary, daughter of the duke of York, 
in 1677, naturally gave the Dutch a greater intereft than they could have 
felt before in the domeftic affairs of Great Britain, and a new ftimulus to 
their zeal againft Louis of France, or, which was the fame thing, againft 
arbitrary power and Popery, both of which had been rendered odious 
under his name. The acceffion of James II. to the throne of England, 
and his attempt to re-eftablifh Popery, added religious as well as political 
fuel to thefe feelings, for everybody underftood that James was acting 


in Literature and Art. 


under the protection of the king of France. The very year of king 
James's acceflion, in 1685, the caricature appeared which we have copied 
in our cut No. 186, and which, although the infcription is in Englim, 
appears to have been the work of a foreign artift. It was probably 
intended to reprefent Mary of Modena, the queen of James II., and her 

No. 1 86. A Dangerous Confejfor. 

rather famous confeflbr, father Petre, the latter under the character of the 
wolf among the iheep. Its aim is fufficiently evident to need no expla- 
nation. At the top, in the original, are the Latin words, Convcrte 
Anvliam, "convert England," and beneath, in Englilh, "It is a fooliih 
lheep that makes the wolf her confeflbr." 

The period during which the Dutch fchool of caricature flourifhed, 
extended through the reign of Louis XIV., and into the regency in 
France, and two great events, the revolution of 1688 in England, and the 
wild money fpeculations of the year 1720, exercifed efpecially the pencils 


408 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

of its caricaturifts. The firft of thefe events belongs almoft entirely to 
Romain de Hooghe. Very little is known of the perfonal hiftory of this 
remarkable artift, but he is believed to have been born towards the middle 
of the feventeenth century, and to have died in the earlier years of the 
eighteenth century. The older French writers on art, who were pre- 
judiced againft Romain de Hooghe for his bitter hoftility to Louis XIV., 
inform us that in his youth he employed his graver on obfcene fubjects, 
and led a life fo openly licentious, that he was banifhed from his native 
town of Amfterdam, and went to live at Haerlem. He gained celebrity 
by the feries of plates, executed in 1672, which reprefented the horrible 
atrocities committed in Holland by the French troops, and which raifed 
againft Louis XIV. the indignation of all Europe. It is faid that the 
prince of Orange (William III. of England), appreciating the value of 
his fatire as a political weapon, fecured it in his own interefts by liberally 
patronifing the caricaturift j and we owe to Romain de Hooghe a fuccef- 
fion of large prints in which the king of France, his protege James II., 
and the adherents of the latter, are covered with ridicule. One, published 
in 1688, and entitled " Les Monarches Tombants," commemorates the 
flight of the royal family from England. Another, which appeared at the 
fame date, is entitled, in French, " Arlequin fur l'hypogryphe a la croifade 
Loiolifte," and in Dutch, "Armee van de Heylige League voor der 
Jefuiten Monarchy" (i.e. " the army of the holy league for eflablifhing the 
monarchy of the Jefuits "). Louis XIV. and James II. were reprefented 
under the characters of Arlequin and Panurge, who are feated on the 
animal here called a " hypogryphe," but which is really a wild afs. The 
two kings have their heads joined together under one Jefuit's cap. 
Other figures, forming part of this army of Jefuitifm, are diftributed over 
the field, the moft grotefque of which is that given in our cut No. 187. 
Two perfonages introduced in fome ridiculous pofition or other, in moft 
of thefe caricatures, are father Petre, the Jefuit, and the infant prince of 
Wales, afterwards the old Pretender. It was pretended that this infant 
was in fa6t the child of a miller, fecretly introduced into the queen's bed 
concealed in a warming-pan j and that this ingenious plot was contrived 
by father Petre. Hence the boy was popularly called Peterkin, or 


in Literature and Art. 


Perkin, i.e. little Peter, which was the name given afterwards to the 
Pretender in fongs and fatires at the time of his rebellion 5 and in the 
prints a windmill was ufually given to the child as a fign of its father's 
trade. In the group reprefented in our cut, father Petre, with the child 
in his arms, is feated on a rather fingular fteed, a lobfler. The young 

No. 187. A Jefuit well Mounted. 

prince here carries the windmill on his head. On the lobfter's back, 
behind the Jefuit, are carried the papal crown, furmounted by a fleur-de- 
lis, with a bundle of relics, indulgences, &c, and it has feized in one claw 
the Engliih church fervice book, and in the other the book of the laws of 
England. In the Dutch defcription of this print, the child is called " the 
new born Antichrist." Another of Romain de Hooghe's prints, entitled 
" Panurge feconde par Arlequin Deodaat a la croifade dTrlande, 1689," 
is a fatire on king James's expedition to Ireland, which led to the memo- 
rable battle of the Boyne. James and his friends are proceeding to the 
place of embarkation, and, as reprefented in our cut No. 188, father 
Petre marches in front, carrying the infant prince in his arms. 

The drawing of Romain de Hooghe is not always correct, efpecially 
in his larger fubje&s, which perhaps may be afcribed to his hafty and 
carelefs manner of working ; but he difplays great fkill in grouping his 
figures, and great power in inverting them with a large amount of fatirical 

3 g humour. 

4 i o Htjtory of Caricature and (JroteJ que 

humour. Moll of the other caricatures of the time are poor both in 
defign and execution. Such is the cafe with a vulgar fatirical print 
which was publifhed in France in the autumn of 1690, on the arrival of 
a falfe rumour that king William had been killed in Ireland. In the 

No. 188 

to Ireland. 

field of the picture the corpfe of the king is followed by a procefhon con- 
fiding of his queen and the principal fupporters of his caufe. The lower 
corner on the left hand is occupied by a view of the interior of the 
infernal regions, and king William introduced in the place allotted to him 
among the flames. In different parts of the picture there are feveral infcrip- 
tionSj all breathing a fpirit of very infolent exultation. One of them is 

Billet (FEnterrement. 
Vous estes priez cTassister au convoy, service, et enterrement du tres haut, tres 
grand, et tres infame Prince infernal, grand stadouter, des Armes diaboliques de la 
ligue d'Ausbourg, et insigne usurpateur des Royaumes d'Angleterre, d'Eccosse, 
et dTrlande, decededans lTrlandeau mois d'Aoust 1690, qui se fera le dit mois,dans 
sa paroisse infernale, ou assisteront Dame Proserpine, Radamonte, et les Ligueurs. 
Les Dames lui diront s'il leur plaist des injures. 

The prints executed in England at this time were, if poffible, worfe 
than thofe publifhed in France. Almofl the only contemporary caricature 
on the downfall of the Stuarts that I know, is an ill-executed print, pub- 

in Literature and Art. 4 1 1 

lifhed immediately after the acceflion of William III., under the title, 
" P^ngland's Memorial of its wonderful deliverance from French Tyranny 
and Popifh Oppreffion." The middle of the picture is occupied by " the 
royal orange tree," which flourifhes in fpite of all the attempts to deflroy 
it. At the upper corner, on the left fide, is a reprefentation of the French 
king's "council," confifting of an equal number of Jefuits and devils, 
feated alternately at a round table. 

The circumflance that the titles and infcriptions of nearly all thefe 
caricatures are in Dutch, feems to mow that their influence was intended 
to be exercifed in Holland rather than elfewhere. In two or three only 
of them thefe defcriptions were accompanied with tranflations in Englifh 
or French ; and after a time, copies of them began to be made in England, 
accompanied with Englifh defcriptions. A curious example of this is 
given in the fourth volume of the " Poems on State Affairs," printed in 
1707. In the preface to this volume the editor takes occafion to inform 
the reader — "That having procur'd from beyond fea a Collection of 
Satyrical Prints done in Holland and elfewhere, by Rom. de Hoog, and 
other the befl mafiers, relating to the French King and his Adherents, 
fince he unjuttly begun this war, 1 have perfuaded the Bookfeller to be at 
the expenfe of ingraving feveral of them ; to each of which I have given 
the Explanation in Englifh verfe, they being in Dutch, French, or Latin 
in the originals." Copies of feven of thefe caricatures are accordingly 
given at the end of the volume, which are certainly inferior in every 
refpect to thofe of the befl period of Romain de Hooghe. One of them 
commemorates the eclipfe of the fun on the 12th of May, 1706. The 
fun, as it might be conjectured, is Louis XIV., eclipfed by queen Anne, 
whofe face occupies the place of the moon. In the foreground of the 
picture, jufl under the eclipfe, the queen is feated on her throne under a 
canopy, furrounded by her counfellors and generals. With her left arm 
fhe holds down the Gallic cock, while with the other hand fhe clips one 
of its wings (fee our cut No. 189). In the upper corner on the right, is 
inferted a picture of the battle of Ramillies, and in "the lower corner on 
the left, a fea-fight under admiral Leake, both victories gained in that 
year. Another of thefe copies of foreign prints is given in our cut 

No. 190 

41 2 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

No. 190. We are told that " thefe figures reprefent a French trumpet 
and drum, fent by Louis le Grand to enquire news of feveral citys loft by 
the Mighty Monarch laft campaign." The trumpeter holds in his hand 
a lift of°loft towns, and another is pinned to the bread of the drummer j 

Clipping the Cock s Wings. 

the former lift is headed by the names of " Gaunt, Bruffels, Antwerp, 
Bruges," the latter by " Barcelona." 

The firfl remarkable outburft of caricatures in England was caufed 
by the proceedings againft the notorious Dr. Sacheverell in 1710. It 
is fomewhat curious that Sacheverell's partifans fpeak of caricatures 
as things brought recently from Holland, and new in England, and 
afcribe the ufe of them as peculiar to the Whig party. The writer of a 
pamphlet, entitled "The Picture of Malice, or a true Account of Dr. 
Sacheverell's Enemies, and their behaviour with regard to him," informs 
us that " the chief means by which all the lower order of that fort of 
men call'd W T higs, fhall ever be found to act for the ruin of a potent 
adverfary, are the following three — by the Print, the Canto or Doggrell 
Poem, and by the Libell, grave, calm, and cool, as the author of the 
* True Anfwer ' defcribes it. Thefe are not all employed at the fame 

1 time 

in Literature and Art. 


time, any more than the ban and arierban of a kingdom is raifed, unleis 
to make fare work, or in cafes of great exigency and imminent danger." 
"The Print," he goes on to fay, " is originally a Dutch talifman (be- 
queathed to the ancient Batavians by a certain Chinefe necromancer and 

No. 190. Trumpet and Dr 

painter), with a virtue far exceeding that of the Palladium, not only of 
guarding their cities and provinces, but alfo of annoying their enemies, 
and preferving a due balance amongft the neighbouring powers around." 
This writer warms up fo much in his indignation againft this new weapon 
of the Whigs, that he breaks out in blank verfe to tell us how even the 
myfterious power of the magician did not deftroy its victims — 

Swifter than heretofore the Print effaced 
The pomp of mightieji monarchs, and dethroned 
The dread idea of royal majefiy; 
Dwindling the prince below the pigmy Ji%e. 


4- 1 4 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

Witnefs the once Great Louis in youthful pride , 
A.n d Charles of happy days, ivho both confejj'd 
The magic power of mezzotinto * Jhade, 
And form grotefque, in manifefioes loud 
Denouncing death to boor and burgomafier. 
Witnefs, ye f acred popes ivith triple croivn, 
Who likeivife <vi 'Slims fell to hideous print, 
Spurn 'd by the populace ivho ivhilome lay 
Projlrate, and enfn adored before your thrones. 

We are then told that " this, if not the firft, has yet been the chief 
machine which his enemies have employ'd againft the doctor ; they have 

No. 1 91. The Three Falfe Brethren. 

expofed him in the fame piece with the pope and the devil, and who 
now could imagine that any Ample prieft mould be able to Hand before a 
power which had levelled popes and monarchs ? " At leaft one copy of 
the caricature here alluded to is preferved, although a great rarity, and it 
is reprefented in our cut No. 191. Two of the party remained long 


* The method of engraving called mezzotinto was very generally adopted in 
England in the earlier part of the last century for prints and caricatures. It was 
continued to rather a late period by the publishing house of Carrington Bowles. 

in Literature and Art. 415 

aflbciated together in the popular outcry, and as the name of the third 
fell into contempt and oblivion, the doctor's place in this affociation was 
taken by a new caufe of alarm, the Pretender, the child whom we have 
juft feen fo joyoufly brandifhing his windmill. It is evident, however, 
that this caricature greatly exafperated Sacheverell and the party which 
fupported him. 

It will have been noticed that the writer juft quoted, in ufing the term 
"print," ignores altogether that of caricature, which, however, was about 
this time beginning to come into ufe, although it is not found in the 
dictionaries, I believe, until the appearance of that of Dr. Johnfon, in 
J 755. Caricature is, of courfe, an Italian word, derived from the verb 
caricare, to charge or load ; and therefore, it means a picture which is 
charged, or exaggerated (the old French dictionaries fay, " c eft la meme 
chofe que charge en peinture "). The word appears not to have come into 
ufe in Italy Until the latter half of the feventeenth century, and the 
earlieft inftance I know of its employment by an Englifh writer is that 
quoted by Johnfon from the " Chriftian Morals " of Sir Thomas Brown, 
who died in 1682, but it was one of his lateft writings, and was not 
printed till long after his death : — " Expofe not thyfelf by four-footed 
manners unto monftrous draughts (i.e. drawings) and caricatura represen- 
tations." This very quaint writer, who had paffed fome time in Italy, 
evidently ufes it as an exotic word. We find it next employed by the 
writer of the Effay No. 537, of the " Spectator," who, fpeaking of the 
way in which different people were led by feelings of jealoufy and preju- 
dice to detract from the characters of others, goes on to fay, " From all 
thefe hands we have fuch draughts of mankind as are reprefented in thofe 
burlefque pictures which the Italians call caricaturas, where the art 
confifts in preferving, amidft diftorted proportions and aggravated features, 
fome diftinguiQiing likenefs of the perfon, but in fuch a manner as to 
transform the moft agreeable beauty into the moft odious monfter." The 
word was not fully eftablifhed in our language in its Englifh form of 
caricature until late in the laft century. 

The fubject of agitation which, produced a greater number of carica- 
tures than any previous event was the wild financial fcheme introduced 


41 6 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

into France by the Scottilb adventurer, Law, and imitated in England in 
the great South Sea Bubble. It would be impoffible here, within our 
neceflary limits, to attempt to trace the hiflory of thefe bubbles, which all 
burn: in the courfe of the year 1720 ; and, in fact, it is a hillory of which 
few are ignorant. On this, as on former occasions, the great mafs of the 
caricatures, efpecially thofe againfi: the Miffiffippi fcheme, were executed 
in Holland, but they are much inferior to the works of Romain de Hooghe. 

No. 192. Atlas. 

In fact, fo great was the demand for thefe caricatures, that the publifhers, 
in their eagernefs for gain, not only deluged the world with plates by 
artifts of no talent, which were without point or intereft, but they took old 
plates of any fubject in which there was a multitude of figures, put new 
titles to them, and publifhed them as fatires on the Miffiffippi fcheme ; 
for people were ready to take anything which reprefented a crowd 
as a fatire on the eagernefs with which Frenchmen rufhed into the 


in Literature and Art. 417 

fhare-market. One or two curious inftances of this deception might be 
pointed out. Thus, an old picture, evidently intended to- reprefent the 
meeting of a king and a nobleman, in the court of a palace, furrounded 
by a crowd of courtiers, in the coflume probably of the time of Henri IV., 
was republished as a picture of people crowding to the grand fcene of 
flock-jobbing in Paris, the Rue Quinquenpoix; and the old pi£ture of the 
battle between Carnival and Lent came out again, a little re-touched, 
under the Dutch title, " Stryd tufzen de fmullende Bubbel-Heeren en de 
aanflaande Armoede," i.e., "The battle between the good-living bubble- 
lords and approaching poverty." 

Befides being iffued fingly, a considerable number of thefe prints were 
collected and publifhed in a volume, which is flill met with not unfre- 
quently, under the title " Het groote Tafereel der Dwaafheid," "The 
great picture of folly." One of this fet of prints reprefents a multitude 
of perfons, of all ages and fexes, acting the part of Atlas in Supporting on 
their backs globes, which, though made only of paper, had become, 
through the agitation of the flock exchange, heavier than gold. Law 
himfelf (fee our cut No. 192) (rands foremofl, and requires the affiftance 
of Hercules to fupport his enormous burthen. In the French verfes 
accompanying this print, the writer fays — 

Ami Atlas, on voit {fans center vous et moi) 
Fa ire r Atlas par tout des divers per Jonnages, 
Riche, pawvre, homme, femme, et jot et quaji-jage, 
Valet, et paifan, le gueux f 'ele-ve en roi. 

Another of thefe caricatures reprefents Law in the character of Don 
Quixote, riding upon Sancho's donkey. He is haltening to his Dulcinia, 
who waits for him in the aSiie huis (action or fhare-houfe), towards which 
people are dragging the animal on which he is seated. The devil (fee 
our cut No. 193), fits behind Law, and holds up the afs's tail, while a 
fhower of paper, in the form of {hares in companies, is fcattered around, 
and fcrambled for by the eager aSiionnaires, In front, the animal is 
laden with the money into which this paper has been turned, — the box 
bears the infeription, " Bombarioos Geldkijl, 1720," " Bombario's (Law's) 
gold chefl ; " and the flag bears the infeription, " Ik koom, ik koom, Dul- 

3 h cinia 

4 1 8 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

cinia" " I come, I come, Dulcinia." The befl, perhaps, of this lot of 
caricatures is a large engraving by the well-known Picart, inferted among 
the Dutch collection with explanations in Dutch and French, and which 
was re-engraved in London, with Engliih defcriptions and applications. 

[93. The Don Quixote of Finance. 

It is a general fatire on the madnefs of the memorable year 1720. Folly 
appears as the charioteer of Fortune, whofe car is drawn by the reprefen- 
tatives of the numerous companies which had fprung up at this time, 
mofl of which appear to be more or lefs unfound. Many of thefe agents 
have the tails of foxes, " to fhow their policy and cunning," as the explana- 
tion informs us. The devil is feen in the clouds above, blowing bubbles 
of foap, which mix with the paper which Fortune is diftributing to the 
crowd. The picture is crowded with figures, fcattered in groups, who 
are employed in a variety of occupations connected with the great folly of 
the day, one of which, as an example, is given in our cut No. 194. It is 
a transfer of flock, made through the medium of a Jew broker. 


in Literature and Art. 


It was in this bubble agitation that the Englifh fchool of caricature began, 
and a few fpecimens are preferved, though others which are advertifed in 
the newfpapers of that day, feem to be entirely loft. In fatt, a very 
confiderable portion of the caricature literature of a period fo compara- 
tively recent as the firft half of the laft century, appears to have perifhed 3 

No. 194. Transfer of Stock. 

for the intereft of thefe prints was in general fo entirely temporary that 
few people took any care to preferve them, and few of them were very 
attractive as pictures. As yet, indeed, thefe Englifh prints are but poor 
imitations of the works of Picart and other continental artifts. A pair of 
Englifh prints, entitled "The Bubbler's Mirrour," reprefents, one a head 
joyful at the rife in the value of ftock, the other, a fimilar head forrowful 
at its fall, furrounded in each cafe with lifts of companies and epigrams 
upon them. They are engraved in mezzotinto, a ftyle of art fuppofed to 
have been invented in England — its invention was afcribed to Prince 
Rupert — and at this time very popular. In the imprint of thefe laft- 
mentioned plates, we are informed that they were " Printed for Carington 
Bowles, next y e Chapter Houfe, in St. Paul's Ch. Yard, London," a well- 
known name in former years, and even now one quite familiar to col- 
lectors, of this clafs of prints, efpecially. Of Carington Bowles we mail 
have more to fay in the next chapter. With him begins the long lift of 
celebrated Englifh printfellers. 

42 o Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 





WITH the acceffion of George IL, the tafte for political caricatures 
increafed greatly, and they had become almofl a neceflity of focial 
life. At this time, too, a diftinct Engliih fchool of political caricature had 
been eflablithed, and the print-fellers became more numerous, and took 
a higher pofition in the commerce of literature and art. Among the 
earlieft of thefe printfellers the name of Bowles ftands efpecially con- 
fpicuous. Hogarth's burlefque on the Beggar's Opera, pubhfhed in 1728, 
was "printed for John Bowles, at the Black Horfe, in Cornhill." Some 
copies of "King Henry the Eighth and Anna Bullen," engraved by the fame 
great artift in the following year, bear the imprint of John Bowles ; and 
others were " printed for Robert Wilkinfon, Cornhill, Carington Bowles, 
in St. Paul's Church Yard, and R. Sayer, in Fleet Street." Hogarth's 
" Humours of Southwark Fair " was alfo publifhed, in 1733, by Carington 
and John Bowles. This Carington Bowles was, perhaps, dead in 1755, 
for in that year the caricature entitled " Britilh Refentment " bears the 
imprint, " Printed for T. Bowles, in St. Paul's Church Yard, and Jno. 
Bowles & Son, in Cornhill." John Bowles appears to have been the 
brother of the firlt Carington Bowles in St. Paul's Churchyard, and a fon 
named Carington fucceeded to that bufinefs, which, under him and his 
fon Carington, and then as the eftablifhment of Bowles and Carver, has 
continued to exifl within the memory of the prefent generation. Another 
very celebrated printfhop was eflablilhed in Fleet Street by Thomas 


in Literature and Art, 42 1 

Overton, probably as far back as the clofe of the feventeenth century, 
On his death his bufinefs was purchafed by Robert Savers, a mezzotinto 
engraver of merit, whofe name appears as joint publisher of a print by 
Hogarth in 1729. Overton is (aid to have been a perfonal friend of 
Hogarth. Savers was fuceeeded in the bufinefs by his pupil in mezzo- 
tinto engraving, named Laurie, from whom it defcended to his fon, 
Robert H. Laurie, known in city politics, and it became fubfequently the 
firm of Laurie and Whittle. This bufinefs ftill exifts at 53, Fleet Street, 
the oldeft eltablilhment in London for the publication of maps and prints. 
During the reign of the fecond George, the number of publifhers of 
caricatures increafed confiderably, and among others, we meet with the 
names of J. Smith, "at Hogarth's Head, Cheapfide," attached to a 
caricature publifhed Auguft, ijj6: Edwards and Darly, " at the Golden 
Acorn, facing Hungerford, Strand," who alfo publifhed caricatures during 
the years 1 756-7 : caricatures and barlefque prints were publiihed by 
G. Bickham, May's Buildings, Covent Garden, and one, directed againft 
the employment of foreign troops, and entitled " A Xurfe for the 
Heflians," is ftated to have been "fold in May's Buildings, Covent 
Garden, where is 50 more:'' "The Raree Show," publiihed in 1762, was 
"fold at Sumpter's Political Print-ihop, Fleet Street," and many carica- 
tures on contemporary coftume, efpecially on the Macaronis, about the 
year 1772, were "'publiihed by T. Bowen, oppolite the Haymarket, 
Piccadilly." Sledge^ " printfeller, Henrietta Street, Covent Garden," is 
alfo met with about the middle of the laft century. Among other 
burlefque prints, Bickham, of May's Buildings, ilTued a feries of figures 
reprefenting the various trades, made up of the different tools, &c, ufed 
by each. The houfe of Carington Bowles, in St. Paul's Churchyard, 
produced an immenfe number of caricatures, during the laft century and 
the prefent, and of the molt varied character, but they conlifted more of 
comic fcenes of fociety than of political mbjects, and many of them were 
engraved in mezzotinto, and rather highly coloured. Among them were 
caricatures on the fafhions and foibles of the day, amuling accidents and 
incidents, common occurrences of life, characters, ice, and they are 
frequently aimed at lawyers and priefts, and efpecially at monks and 


422 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

friars, for the anti-Catholic feeling was ftrong in the laft century. 
J. Brotherton, at No. 132, New Bond Street, publifhed many of Bun- 
bury' s caricatures ; while the houfe of Laurie and Whittle gave employ- 
ment efpecially to the Cruikfhanks. But perhaps the moft extenfive 
publifher of caricatures of them all was S. W. Fores, who dwelt firft at 
No. 3, Piccadilly, but afterwards eftablifhed himfelf at No. 50, the corner 
of Sackville Street, where the name ftill remains. Fores feems to have 
been moft fertile in ingenious expedients for the extenfion of his bufinefs. 
He formed a fort of library of caricatures and other prints, and charged 
for admiffion to look at them 3 and he afterwards adopted a fyftem of 
lending them out in portfolios for evening parties, at which thefe port- 
folios of caricatures became a very fafhionable amufement in the latter 
part of the laft century. At times, fome remarkable curiofity was em- 
ployed to add to the attractions of his fhop. Thus, on caricatures pub- 
lifhed in 1790, we find the ftatement that, "In Fores' Caricature Mufeum 
is the completed collection in the kingdom. Alfo the head and hand of 
Count Struenzee. Admittance, is." Caricatures againft the French 
revolutionifts, publifhed in 1793, bear imprints flating that they were 
"publifhed by S. W. Fores, No. 3, Piccadilly, where may be feen a 
complete Model of the Guillotine — admittance, one Hulling." In fome 
this model is faid to be fix feet high. 

Among the artifts employed by the print-publifhers of the age of 
George II., we ftill find a certain number of foreigners. Coypel, who 
caricatured the opera in the days of Farinelli, and pirated Hogarth, 
belonged to a diftinguifhed family of French painters. Goupy, who alfo 
caricatured the of the opera (in 1727), and Boitard, who worked 
actively for Carington Bowles from 1750 to 1770, were alfo Frenchmen. 
Liotard, another caricaturift of the time of George II., was a native of 
Geneva. The names of two others, Vandergucht and Vanderbank, pro- 
claim them Dutchmen. Among the Englilh caricaturifls who worked 
for the houfe of Bowles, were George Bickham, the brother of the print- 
feller, John Collet, and Robert Dighton, with others of lefs repute. 
R. Attwold, who publifhed caricatures againft admiral Byng in 17^0, was 
an imitator of Hogarth. Among the more obfcure caricaturifts of the 


in Literature and Art. 423 

latter part of the half-century, were MacArdell — whofe print of " The 
Park Shower," reprefenting the confufion raifed among the falhionable 
company in the Mall in St. James's Park by a fudden fall of rain, is fo 
well known — and Darley. Paul Sandby, who was patronifed by the duke 
of Cumberland, executed caricatures upon Hogarth. Many of thefe artifts 
of the earlier period of the Englifh fchool of caricature appear to have 
been very ill paid — the firft of the family of Bowles is faid to have boafted 
that he bought many of the plates for little more than their value as 
metal. The growing tafte for caricature had alio brought forward a 
number of amateurs, among whom were the countefs of Burlington, and 
general, afterwards marquis, Townfhend. The former, who was the lady 
of that earl who built Burlington Houfe, in Piccadilly, was the leader of 
one of the factions in the opera difputes at the clofe of the reign of 
George I., and is underftood to have defigned the well-known caricature 
upon Cuzzoni, Farinelli, and Heidegger, which was etched by Goupy, 
whom fhe patronifed. It muft not be forgotten that Bunbury himfelf, as 
well as Sayers, were amateurs ; and among other amateurs I may name 
captain Minfhull, captain Baillie, and John Nixon. The firft of thefe 
publifhed caricatures againfl the Macaronis (as the dandies of the earlier 
part of the reign of George III. were called), one of which, entitled "The 
Macaroni DrefTing-Room," was efpecially popular. 

Englifh political caricature came into its full activity with the miniftry 
of fir Robert Walpole, which, beginning in 1721, lafted through the long 
period of twenty years. In the previous period the Whigs were accufed 
of having invented caricature, but now the Tories certainly took the 
utmoft advantage of the invention, for, during feveral years, the greater 
number of the caricatures which were publifhed were aimed againft the 
Whig miniftry. It is alio a rather remarkable chara&eriftic of fociety at 
this period, that the ladies took fo great an intereft in politics, that the 
caricatures were largely introduced upon fans, as well as upon other 
objects of an equally perfonat character. Moreover, the popular notion of 
what conftituted a caricature was flill fo little fixed, that they were ufually 
called hieroglyphics, a term, indeed, which was not ill applied, for they 
were fo elaborate, and fo filled with myftical allufions, that now it is by 


424 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefq 


no means eafy to underfiand or appreciate them. Towards the year 
1739, there was a marked improvement in the political caricatures — they 
were better defigned, and difplayed more talent, but ftill they required 
rather long delcriptions to render them intelligible. One of the moft 
celebrated was produced by the motion in the Houfe of Commons, 
Feb. 13, 1 741, againft the minifter Walpole. It was entitled "The 
Motion," and was a Whig fatire upon the oppofition, who are reprefented 

A Party of Mourners. 

as driving fo hurriedly and inconfiderately to obtain places, that they are 
overthrown before they reach their object. The party of the oppofition 
retaliated by a counter-caricature, entitled, "The Reafon," which was in 
fome refpefts a parody upon the other, to which it was inferior in point 
and fpirit. At the fame time appeared another caricature againft the 
miniftry, under the title of " The Motive." Thefe provoked another, 


in Literature and Art. 


entitled, " A Confequence of the Motion j" which was followed the day 
after its publication by another caricature upon the oppofition, entitled, 
"The Political Libertines ; or, Motion upon Motion j" while the oppo- 
nents of the government alio brought out a caricature, entitled, "The 
Grounds," a violent and rather grofs attack upon the Whigs. Among 
other caricatures published on this occafion, one of the beft was entitled, 
"The Funeral of Fa6lion," and bears the date of March 26, 1741. 
Beneath it are the words, "Funerals performed by Squire S s," allud- 
ing to Sandys, who was the motion-maker in the Houfe of Commons, 
and who thus brought on his party a fignal defeat. Among the chief 
mourners on this occasion are feen the opposition journals, The Craftsman, 
the creation of Bolingbroke and Pulteney, the ftill more fcurrilous 

B' iti/b Rejiti-.mcnt. 

Champion, The Daily Pojt, The London and Evening Pojt, and The Common 
Senfe Journal. This mournful group is reproduced in our cut No. J95. 

From this time there was no falling off in the fupply of caricatures, 
which, on the contrary, feemed to increafe every year, until the activity 
of the pictorial fatirifts was roufed anew by the hortilities with France in 

3 1 i/55> 

426 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefq 


l 755> ana * the minifterial intrigues of the two following years. The war, 
accepted by the Englifh government relu&antly, and ill prepared for, was 
the fubjecl: of much difcontent, although at firft hopes were given of great 
fuccefs. One of the caricatures, publiihed in the middle of thefe early 
hopes, at a time when an Englifh fleet lay before Louifbourg, in Canada, 
is entitled, " Britifh Refentment, or the French fairly coop'd at Louif- 
bourg," and came from the pencil of the French artift Boitard. One of 
its groups, reprefenting the courageous Englifh failor and the defpairing 
Frenchman, is given in our cut No. 196, and may ferve as an example 
of Boitard's ftyle of drawing. It became now the fafhion to print 
political caricatures, in a diminifhed form, on cards, and feventy-five oi 
thefe were formed into a fmall volume, under the title of " A Political 
and Satirical Hiitory of the years 1756 and 1757. In a feries of feventy- 

.97. Britannia in a New Drefs. 

five humorous and entertaining Prints, containing all the moft remarkable 
Tranfaclions, Characters, and Caricaturas of thofe two memorable 
years. . . . London : printed for E. Morris, near St. Paul's." The im- 
prints of the plates, which bear the dates of their feveral publications, 
inform us that they came from the well-known (hop of " Darly and 
Edwards, at the Acorn, facing Hungerford, Strand." Thefe caricatures 
begin with our foreign relations, and exprefs the belief that the minifters 
were facrificing Englim interefls to French influence. In one of them 


in Literature and Art. 


(our cut No. 197), entitled, "England made odious, or the French 
Dreifers," the minifter, Newcaftle, in the garb of a woman, and his 
colleague, Fox, have dreffed Britannia in a new French robe, which does 
not fit her. She exclaims, " Let me have my own cloathes. I cannot 
ftir my arms in thefe 5 befides, everybody laughs at me." Newcaftle 
replies, rather imperioufly, " Hufiy, be quiet, you have no need to ftir 
your arms — why, fure ! what's here to do?" While Fox, in a more 
mfinuating tone, offers her a fleur-de-lis, and fays, " Here, madam, ftick 

Caught by a Bait. 

this in your bofom, next your heart." The two pictures which adorn the 
walls of the room reprefent an axe and a halter ; and underneath we read 
the lines, — 

And [hall the fubftitutes of poiuer 

Our g emus thus bedeck ? 
Let them remember there^s an hour 

Of quittance — then, ivare neck. 

In another print of this feries, this laft idea is illuftrated more fully. It 
is aimed at the minifters, who were believed to be enriching themfelves 
at the expenfe of the nation, and is entitled, " The Devil turned Bird- 
catcher." On one fide, while Fox is greedily fcrambling for the gold, 
the fiend has caught him in a halter fufpended to the gallows; on the 
other fide another demon is letting down the fatal axe on Newcaftle, 
who is fimilarly employed. The latter (fee our cut No. 198) is defcribed 

428 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

as a " Noddy catching at the bait, while the bird-catcher lets drop an 
axe." This implement of execution is a perfect piclure of a guillotine, 
long before it was fo notorioufly in ufe in France. 

The third example of thefe caricatures which I fhall quote is entitled 
" The Idol," and has for its fubjecl the extravagancies and perfonal jealou- 
fies connected with the Italian opera. The rivalry between Mingotti and 
Vannefchi was now making as much noife there as that of Cuzzoni and 

0. 199. Briti/h Idolatry. 

Fauftina fome years before. The former a<5ted arbitrarily and capricioufly, 
and could with difficulty be bound to fing a few times during the feafon 
for a high falary : it is faid, s^2,ooo for the feafon. In the caricature to 
which I allude, this lady appears railed upon a frool, infcribed "^2,000 
per annum," and is receiving the worihip of her admirers. Immediately 
before her an ecclefiaftic is feen on his knees, exclaiming, " Unto thee be 
praife now and for evermore !" In the background a lady appears, hold- 
ing up her pug-dog, then the fafhionable pet, and addrefhng the opera 
favourite, " 'Tis only pug and you I love." Other men are on their 
knees behind the ecclefiailic, all perfons of diftin&ion ; and laft comes a 
nobleman and his lady, the former holding in his hand an order for 
^2,000, his fubfcription to the opera, and remarking, "We lhall have but 


in Literature and Art. 


twelve fongs for all this money." The lady replies, with an air of con- 
tempt, "Well, and enough too, for the paltry trifle." The idol, in return 
for all this homage, rings rather centemptuoufly — 

Ra, ru y ra, rot ye, 
My name is Mmgotti, 
If you ivor/hip me notti, 
You jhall all go to potti. 

The doling years of the reign of George II., under the vigorous 
adminiftration of the firft William Pitt, witneffed a calm in the domeftic 
politics of the country, which prefented a ilrange contrail to the agita- 
tion of the previous period. Faction feemed to have hidden its head, and 
there was comparatively little employment for the caricaturift. But this 
calm lafted only a lhort time after that king's death, and the new reign 
was ufhered in by indications of approaching p^ 
political agitation of the moft violent defcrip- 
tion, in which fatirifts who had hitherto con- 
tented themfelves with other fubjects were 
tempted to embark in the ftrife of politics. 
Among thefe was Hogarth, whole difcom- 
forts as a political caricaturift we mail have 
to defcribe in our next chapter. 

Perhaps no name ever provoked a greater 
amount of caricature and fatirical abufe than 
that of Lord Bute, who, through the favour 
of the Princefs of Wales, ruled fupreme at 
court during the firft period of the reign of 
George III. Bute had taken into the 
miniftry, as his confidential colleague, Fox 
— the Henry Fox who became fubfequently 
the firft Lord Holland, a man who had en- 
riched himfelf enormouily with the money of 
the nation, and thefe two appeared to be 
aiming at the eftabliihment of arbitrary power 
in the place of conftitutional government. Fox was ufually reprefented in 


No. 200 Fox on Boots. 

430 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

the caricatures with the head and tail of the animal reprefented by his 
name rather ftrongly developed ; while Bute was drawn, as a very bad pun 
upon his name, in the garb of a Scotchman, wearing two large boots, or 
fometimes a Angle boot of ftill greater magnitude. In thefe caricatures Bute 
and Fox are generally coupled together. Thus, a little before the refigna- 
tion of the duke of Newcaflle in 1762, there appeared a caricature entitled 
" The State Nurfery," in which the various members of the miniftry, as it 
was then formed under Lord Bute's influence, are reprefented as engaged 
in childiih games. Fox, as the whipper-in of parliamentary majorities, is 
riding, armed with his whip, on Bute's Ihoulders (fee our cut No. 200), 
while the duke of Newcaflle performs the more menial fervice of rocking 
the cradle. In the rhymes which accompany this caricature, the firft of thefe 
groups is defcribed as follows (Fox was commonly fpoken of in fatire by 
the title of Volpone) — 

Firft you fee old fly Volpone-y, 
Riding on the (boulder % brawny 
Of the muckle favourite Saivny ,• 
Doodle, doodle, doo. 

The number of caricatures publifhed at this period was very great, 
and they were almoft all aimed in one direction, againfl Bute and Fox, 
the Princefs of Wales, and the government they directed. Caricature, 
at this time, ran into the leaft difguifed licence, and the coarfeft allufions 
were made to the fuppofed fecret intercourfe between the minifter and 
the Princefs of Wales, of which perhaps the mod harmlefs was the addi- 
tion of a petticoat to the boot, as a fymbol of the influence under which 
the country was governed. In mock proceffions and ceremonies a 
Scotchman was generally introduced carrying the ftandard of the boot 
and petticoat. Lord Bute, frightened at the amount of odium which 
was thus heaped upon him, fought to Item the torrent by employing 
fatirifts to defend the government, and it is hardly neceflary to Hate that 
among thefe mercenary auxiliaries was the great Hogarth himfelf, who 
accepted a penfion, and publifhed his caricature entitled, "The Times, 
Nov. 1," in the month of September, 1762. Hogarth did not excel in 
political caricature, and there was little in this print to diftinguifh it above 


in Literature and Art. 


the ordinary publications of a fimilar character. It was the moment or 
negotiations for Lord Bute's unpopular peace, and Hogarth's latire is 
direded againft the foreign policy of the great ex-minifter Pitt. It 
reprefents Europe in a ftate of general conflagration, and the flames 
already communicating to Great Britain. While Pitt is blowing the fire, 
Bute, with a party of foldiers and failors zealoufty amfted by his favourite 
Scotchmen, is labouring to extinguifh it. In this he is impeded by the 
interference of the duke of Newcaftle, who brings a wheelbarrow full of 
Monitors and North Britons, the violent oppofition journals, to feed the 

No. 201. Fanat'iLifm in another Shape. 

flames. The advocacy of Bute's mercenaries, whether literary or artiftic, 
did little fervice to the government, for they only provoked increafed 
activity among its opponents. Hogarth's caricature of " The Times," 
drew feveral anfwers, one of the befl: of which was a large print entitled 
"The Raree Show: a political contrail to the print of ' The Times,' by 
William Hogarth." It is the houfe of John Bull which is here on fire, 
and the Scots are dancing and exulting at it. In the centre of the pi6ture 
appears a great actors' barn, from an upper window of which Fox thrufts 
out his head and points to the fign, reprefenting iEneas and Dido 


432 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

entering the cave together, as the performance which was afting within. 
It is an allufion to the fcandal in general circulation relating to Bute and 
the princefs, who, of courfe, were the iEneas and Dido of the piece, and 
appear in thofe characters on the fcafFold in front, with two of Bute's 
mercenary writers, Smollett, who edited the Briton, and Murphy, who 
wrote in the Auditor, one blowing the trumpet and the other beating the 
drum. Among the different groups which fill the picture, one, behind 
the atlors' barn (fee our cut No. 20 j), is evidently intended for a fatire 
on the fpirit of religious fanaticifm which was at this time fpreading 
through the country. An open-air preacher, mounted on a ftool, is 
addreffing a not very intellectual-looking audience, while his infpiration is 
conveyed to him in a rather vulgar manner by the fpirit, not of good, 
but of evil. 

The violence of this political warfare at length drove Lord Bute from 
at leafl oftenfible power. He refigned on the 6th of April, 1763. One 
of the popular favourites at this time was the duke of Cumberland, the 
hero of Culloden, who was regarded as the leader of the oppofition in the 
Houfe of Lords. People now believed that it was the duke of Cumber- 
land who had overthrown " the boot," and his popularity increafed on a 
fudden. The triumph was commemorated in feveral caricatures. One 
of thefe is entitled, " The Jack-Boot kick'd down, or Englilh Will 
triumphant : a Dream." The duke of Cumberland, whip in hand, has 
kicked the boot out of the houfe, exclaiming to a young man in tailor's 
garb who follows him, " Let me alone, Ned ; I know how to deal with 
Scotfmen. Remember Culloden." The youth replies, " Kick hard, 
uncle, keep him down. Let me have a kick too." Nearly the fame 
group, ufing fimilar language, is introduced into a caricature of the fame 
date, entitled, " The Boot and the Blockhead." The youthful perfonage 
is no doubt intended for Cumberland's nephew, Edward, duke of York, 
who was a failor, and was raifed to the rank of rear-admiral, and who 
appears to have joined his uncle in his oppofition to Lord Bute. The 
"boot," as feen in our cut No. 202, is encircled with Hogarth's celebrated 
"line of beauty," of which I thai] have to fpeak more at length in the 
next chapter. 


in Literature and Art. 


With the overthrow of Bute's miniftry, we may confider the Englilh 
fchool of caricature as completely formed and fully eftablifhed. From 
this time the names of the caricaturifls are better known, and we fhaJl 

No. 202. The Overthrow of the Boot. 

have to confider them in their individual characters. One ol thele, 
William Hogarth, had rifen in fame far above the group of the ordinary 
men by whom he was i'urruunded. 

434 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 







ON the 10th of November, 1697, William Hogarth was born in the 
city of London. His father, Richard Hogarth, was a London 
fchoolmafter, who laboured to increafe the income derived from his 
fcholars by compiling books, but with no great fuccefs. From his child- 
hood, as he tells us in his " Anecdotes " of himfelf, the young Hogarth 
difplayed a tafte for drawing, and efpecially for caricature ; and, out of 
fchool, he appears to have been feldom without a pencil in his hand. 
The limited means of Richard Hogarth compelled him to take the boy 
from fchool at an early age, and bind him apprentice to a fteel-plate 
engraver. But this occupation proved little to the tafte of one whofe 
ambition role much higher; and when the term of his apprenticefhip had 
expired, he applied himfelf to engraving on copper ; and, fetting up on 
his own account, did confiderable amount of work, firft in engraving arms 
and {hop-bills, and afterwards in defigning and engraving book illuftrations, 
none of which difplayed any fuperiority over the ordinary run of fuch 
productions. Towards 1728 Hogarth began to practife as a painter, and 
he fubfequently attended the academy of fir James Thornhill, in Covent 
Garden, where he became acquainted with that painter's only daughter, 
Jane. The refult was a clandeftine marriage in 173.0, which met the 
difapproval and provoked the anger of the lady's father. Subfequently, 
however, fir James became convinced of the genius of his fon-in-law, and 
a reconciliation was effected through the medium cf lady Thornhill. 


in Literature and Art. 435 

At this time Hogarth had already commenced that new ftyle of defign 
which was deftined to raife him ibon to a degree of fame as an artift few 
men have ever attained. In his "Anecdotes" of himfelf, the painter has 
given us an interefting account of the motives by which he was guided. 
" The reafons," he fays, " which induced me to adopt this mode of 
defigning were, that I thought both writers and painters had, in the 
hiftorical ftyle, totally overlooked that intermediate fpecies of fubjects 
which may be placed between the fublime and the grotefque. I there- 
fore wifhed to compote pictures on canvas fimilar to reprefentations on the 
ftage ; and further hope that they will be tried by the fame teft, and 
criticifed by the fame criterion. Let it be obferved, that I mean to fpeak 
only of thofe fcenes where the human fpecies are actors, and thefe, I 
think, have not often been delineated in a way of which they are worthy 
and capable. In thefe compofitions, thofe fubjects that will both entertain 
and improve the mind bid fair to be of the greateft public utility, and 
muft therefore be entitled to rank in the higheft clafs. If the execution 
is difficult (though that is but a fecondary merit), the author has claim to 
a higher degree of praife. If this be admitted, comedy, in painting as 
well as writing, ought to be allotted the tirft place, though the fublime, 
as it is called, has been oppofed to it. Ocular demonftration will carry 
more conviction to the mind of a fenfible man than all he would find in 
a thoufand volumes, and this has been attempted in the prints I have 
compofed. Let the decifion be left to every unprejudiced eye ; let the 
figures in either pictures or prints be considered as players dreffed either 
for the fublime, for genteel comedy or farce, for high or low life. I 
have endeavoured to treat my fubjects as a dramatic writer : my picture 
is my ftage, and men and women my players, who, by means of certain 
actions and geftures, are to exhibit a dumh-fliow." 

The great feries of pictures, indeed, which form the principal founda- 
tion of Hogarth's fame, are comedies rather than caricatures, and noble 
comedies they are. Like comedies, they are arranged, by a feries of fuc- 
ceftive plates, in acts and fcenes ; and they reprefent contemporary fociety 
pictorially, juft as it had been and was reprefented on the ftage in Englilh 
comedy. It is not by delicacy or excellence of drawing that Hogarth 


436 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

excels, for he often draws incorrectly ; but it is by his extraordinary and 
minute delineation of character, and by his wonderful fkill in telling a 
ftory thoroughly. In each of his plates we fee a whole a6t of a play, in 
which nothing is loft, nothing gloried over, and, I may add, nothing 
exaggerated. The moil trifling object introduced into the picture is 
made to have fuch an intimate relationfhip with the whole, that it feems 
as if it would be imperfect without it. The art of producing this effect 
was that in which Hogarth excelled. The firft: of Hogarth's great fuites 
of prints was " The Harlot's Progrefs," which was the work of the years 
1733 and 1734. It tells a ftory which was then common in London, and 
was acted more openly in the broad face of fociety than at the prefent 
day ; and therefore the effect and confequent fuccefs were almoft inftan- 
taneous. It had novelty, as well as excellence, to recommend it. This 
feries of plates was followed, in 1735, by another, under the title of " The 
Rake's Progrefs." In the former, Hogarth depicted the fhame and 
ruin which attended a life of proftitution ; in this, he reprefented the 
fimilar confequences which a life of profligacy entailed on the other fex. 
In many refpects it is fuperior to the " Harlot's Progrefs," and its details 
come more home to the feelings of people in general, becaufe thofe of 
the proftitute's hiftory are more veiled from the public gaze. The 
progrefs of the fpendthrift in diflipation and riot, from the moment he 
becomes poffeiTed of the fruits of paternal avarice, until his career ends in 
prifon and madnefs, forms a marvellous drama, in which every incident 
prefents itfelf, and every agent performs his part, fo naturally, that it 
feems almoft beyond the power of acting. Perhaps no one ever pi&ured 
defpair with greater perfection than it is fhown in the face and bearing of 
the unhappy hero of this hiftory, in the laft plate but one of the feries, 
where, thrown into prifon for debt, he receives from the manager of a 
theatre the announcement that the play which he had written in the 
hope of retrieving fomewhat of his pofition — his laft refource — has been 
refufed. The returned manufcript and the manager's letter lie on the 
wretched table (cut No. 203) ; while on the one fide his wife reproaches 
him heartleflly with the deprivations and fufferings which he has brought 
upon her, and on the other the jailer is reminding him of the fact that 


in Literature and Art. 


the fees exacted for the flight indulgence he has obtained in prifon are 
unpaid, and even the pot-boy refufes to deliver him his beer without nrfl 
receiving his money. It is but a ftep further to Bedlam, which, in the 
next plate, clofes his unbleffed career. 

Ten years almoft from this time had paused away before Hogarth gave 

No. 203. Defpair. 

to the world his next grand feries of what he called his " modern moral 
fubjefts." This was " The Marriage a la mode," which was publifhed in 
fix plates in 1745, and which fully fuftained the reputation built upon the 
" Harlot's Progrefs " and the " Rake's Progrefs." Perhaps the befl plate 
of the "Marriage a la mode," is the fourth — the mufic fcene — in which 
one principal group of figures efpecially arreils the attention. It is repre- 
fented in our cut No. 204. William Hazlitt has juflly remarked upon it 
that, " the prepofterous, overtrained admiration of the lady of quality • 
the fentimental, infipid, patient delight of the man with his hair in 
papers, and tipping his tea ; the pert, fmirking, conceited, half-diftorted 
approbation of the figure next to him ; the transition to the total infenfi- 
bility of the round face in profile, and then to the wonder of the negro 
boy at the rapture of his miftrefs, form a perfect whole." 


43 8 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

In the interval between thefe three great monuments of his talent, 
Hogarth had publifhed various other plates, belonging to much the fame 

No. 204. Fafh'itnable Society. 

clafs of fubjecls, and difplaying different degrees of excellence. His 
engraving of " Southwark Fair," publifhed in 1733, which immediately 

No. 2.05. An Old Maid and her Page. 

preceded the " Harlot's Progrefs," may be regarded almoft as an attempt 
to rival the fairs of Callot. " The Midnight Modern Converfation " 


appeared in the interval between the "Harlot's Progrefs" and the 
" Rake's Progrefs j" and three years after the feries lalt mentioned, in 
1738, the engraving, remarkable equally in delign and execution, of the 
" Strolling AdtrefTes in a Barn," and the four plates of " Morning," 
"Noon," "Evening," and " Night," all full of choiceft bits of humour. 
Such is the group of the old maid and her footboy in the firft of this 
feries (cut No. 205) — the former ftifF and prudilh, whofe religion is 
evidently not that of charity ; while the latter crawls after, fhrinking at 
the fame time under the effects of cold and hunger, which he fuftains 
in confequence of the hard, niggardly temper of his miftrefs. Among 

No. 206. Lofs and Gain. 

the humorous events which fill the plate of" Noon," we may point to 
the difafler of the boy who has been fent to the baker's to fetch home 
the family dinner, and who, as reprelented in our cut No. 206, has 
broken his pie-dim, and fpilt its contents on the ground; and it is diffi- 
cult to fay which is exprefTed with moft fidelity to nature — the terror and 
fhame of the unfortunate lad, or the feeling of enjoyment in the face of 
the little girl who is feafting on the fragments of the fcattered meal. In 
1 741 appeared the plate of " The Enraged Mufician." During this period 
Hogarth appears to have been hefitating between two fubje&s for his 
third grand pi&orial drama. Some unfinifhed fketches have been found, 


44° Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

from which it would feem that, after depicting the miferies of a life of 
diflipation in either fex, he intended to reprefent the domeftic happinefs 
which refulted from a prudent and well-afforted marriage ; but for fome 
reafon or other he abandoned this defign, and gave the picture of wedlock 
in a lefs amiable light, in his " Marriage a la mode." The title was pro- 
bably taken from that of Dryden's comedy. In 17^0 appeared "The 
March to Finchley," in many refpects one of Hogarth's beft works. It 
is a finking expofure of the want of difcipline. and the low morale of the 
Engliih army under George II. Many amuting groups fill this picture, 
the fcene of which is laid in Tottenham Court Road, along which the 
guards are fuppofed to be marching to encamp at Finchley, in confequence 

No. T-CJ. A brave Soldier. 

of rumours of the approach of the Pretender's army in the Rebellion of 
'45. The foldiers in front are moving on with fome degree of order, but 
in the rear we fee nothing but confufion, fome reeling about under the 
effects of liquor, and confounded by the cries of women and children, 
camp-followers, ballad-fingers, plunderers, and the like. One of the latter, 
as reprefented in our cut No. 207, is aflifting a fallen foldier with an 
additional dofe of liquor, while his pilfering propensities are betrayed by 
the hen fcreaming from his wallet, and by the chickens following dif- 
tractedly the cries of their parent. 

Hogarth prefents a lingular example of a fatirilt who fuffered under 


in Literature and Art. 441 

the very punifhment which he inflicted on others. He made many 
perfonal enemies in the courfe of his labours. He had begun his career 
with a well-known perfonal fatire, entitled "The Man of Tafte," which 
was a caricature on Pope, and the poet is faid never to have forgiven it. 
Although the fatire in his more celebrated works appears to us general, 
jt told upon his contemporaries perfonally ; for the figures which act 
their parts in them were fo many portraits of individuals who moved in 
contemporary fociety, and who were known to everybody, and thus he 
provoked a hofl of enemies. It was like Foote's mimicry. He was to 
an extraordinary degree vain of his own talent, and jealous of that of 
others in the fame profeffion ; and he fpoke in terms of undifguifed 
contempt of almoft all artifts, pari or prefent. Thus, the painter intro- 
duced into the print of " Beer Street," is faid to be a caricature upon 
John Stephen Liotard, one of .he artifts mentioned in the laft chapter. 
He thus provoked the hoftility of the greatefl part of his contemporaries 
in his own profeffion, and in the fequel had to fupport the full weight of 
their anger. When George II., who had more tafle for foldiers than 
pictures, faw the painting of the " March to Finchley," inftead of admir- 
ing it as a work of art, he is faid to have exprefTed himfelf with anger at 
the infult which he believed was offered to his army ; and Hogarth not 
only revenged himfelf by dedicating his print to the king of Pruflia, by 
which it did become a fatire on the Britifh army, but he threw himfelf 
into the faction of the prince of Wales at Leicester Houfe. The firft 
occafion for the difplay of all thefe animofities was given in the year 1753, 
at the clofe of which he publilhed his " Analyfis of Beauty." Though 
far from being himfelf a fuccefsful painter of beauty, Hogarth under- 
took in this work to investigate its principles, which he referred to 
a waving or ferpentine line, and this he termed the "line of beauty." 
In 1745 Hogarth had publilhed his own portrait as the frontifpiece to a 
volume of his collected works, and in one corner of the plate he introduced 
a painter's palette, on which was this waving line, infcribed " The line 
of beauty." For feveral years the meaning of this remained either quite 
a myftery, or was only known to a few of Hogarth's acquaintances, until 
the appearance of the book juft mentioned. Hogarth's manufcript was 

3 l reviled 

44 2 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

revifed by his friend, Dr. Morell, the compiler of the " Thefaurus," 
whofe name became thus aflbciated with the book. This work expofed 
its author to a hoft of violent attacks, and to unbounded ridicule, efpe- 
cially from the whole tribe of offended artifts. A great number of cari- 
catures upon Hogarth and his line of beauty appeared during the year 
1754, which fhow the bitternefs of the hatred he had provoked ; and to 
hold mil further their terror over his head, molt of them are infcribed 
with the words, " To be continued." Among the artifts who efpecially 

Ac. 208. A. Painter' 's Amufements. 

fignalifed themfelves by their zeal againft him, was Paul Sandby, to 
whom we owe fome of the beft of thefe anti-Hogarthian caricatures. 
One of thefe is entitled, "A New Dunciad, done with a view of 
[fixing] the fluctuating ideas of tafte." In the principal group (which is 
given in our cut No. 208), Hogarth is reprefented playing with a pantin, 
or figure which was moved into activity by pulling a firing. The firing 
takes fomewhat the form of the line of beauty, which is alfo drawn upon 
his palette. This figure is defcribed underneath the picture as " a painter 


in Literature and Art. 


at the proper exercife of his tafte." To his breaft is attached a card (the 
knave of hearts), which is defcribed by a very bad pun as " the fool of 
arts." On one fide " his genius " is reprefented in the form of a black 
harlequin ; while behind appears a rather jolly perfonage (intended, perhaps, 
for Dr. Morell), who, we are told, is one of his admirers. On the table 
are the foundations, or the remains, of " a houfe of cards." Near him 
is Hogarth's favourite dog, named Trump, which always accompanies him 
in thefe caricatures. Another caricature which appeared at this time 
reprefents Hogarth on the ftage as a quack doctor, holding in his hand 
the line of beauty, and recommending its extraordinary qualities. This 

No. 209. The Line of Beauty exemplified. 

print is entitled " A Mountebank Painter demonstrating to his admirers 
and fubfcribers that crookednefs is y e moft beautifull." Lord Bute, whofe 
patronage at Leicefter Houfe Hogarth now enjoyed, is reprefented 
fiddling, and the black harlequin ferves as " his puff." In the front a 
crowd of deformed and hump-backed people are preffing forwards (fee 
our cut No. 209), and the line of beauty fits them all admirably. 

Much as this famous line of beauty was ridiculed, Hogarth was not 
allowed to retain the fmall honour which feemed to arife from it undif- 
puted. It was laid that he had ftolen the idea from an Italian writer 
named Lomazzo, Latinifed into Lomatius, who had enounced it in a 


444 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

treatife on the Fine Arts, publifhed in the fixteenth century.* In 
another caricature by Paul Sandby, with a vulgar title which I will not 
repeat, Hogarth is vifited, in the midft of his glory, by the ghoft of 
Lomazzo, carrying in one hand his treatife on the arts, and with his other 
holding up to view the line of beauty itfelf. In the infcriptions on the 
plate, the principal figure is defcribed as "An author finking under the 

No, 210. Piracy Expofed. 

weight of his faturnine analyfis ;'' and, indeed, Hogarth's terror is broadly 
painted, while the volume of his analyfis is refting heavily upon " a ftrong 
fupport bent in the line of beauty by the mighty load upon it." Befide 
Hogarth Hands " his faithful pug," and behind him " a friend of the 
author endeavouring to prevent his finking to his natural lownefs." On 

* It was translated into English by Richard Haydocke, under the title of " The 
Artes of Curious Paintinge, Carvinge, Buildinge," fol. 1598. This is one of the 
earliest works on art in the English language. 

in Literature and Art. 445 

the other fide ftands Dr. Morell, or, perhaps, Mr. Townley, the mailer of 
Merchant Taylors' School, who continued his fervice in preparing the 
book for the prefs after Morell's death, defcribed as " the author's friend 
and corrector," aftonifhed at the fight of the ghoft. The ugly figure on 
the left hand of the picture is described as " Deformity weeping at the 
condition of her darling fon," while the dog is " a greyhound bemoaning 
his friend's condition." This group is reprefented in our cut No. 210. 
The other caricatures which appeared at this time were two numerous 
to allow us to give a particular defcription of them. The artift is ufually 
reprefented, under the influence of his line of beauty, painting ugly 
pictures from deformed models, or attempting hiftorical pictures in a ftyle 
bordering on caricature, or, on one occafion, as locked up in a mad-houfe, 
and allowed only to exercife his ikill upon the bare walls. One of thefe 
caricatures is entitled, in allufion to the title of one of his moft popular 
prints, " The Painter's March through Finchley, dedicated to the king of 
the gipfies, as an encourager of arts, &c." Hogarth appears in full flight 
through the village, clofely purfued by women and children, and animals 
in great variety, and defended only by his favourite dog. 

With the " Marriage a lamode" Hogarth may be confidered as having 
reached his highefi point of excellence. The fet of " Induftry and Idle- 
nefs" tells a good and ufeful moral flory, but difplays inferior talent in 
defign. "Beer Street" and " Gin Lane" difgufl us by their vulgarity, 
and the "Four Stages of Cruelty " are equally repulfive to our feelings 
by the unveiled horrors of the fcenes which are too coarfely depicted in 
them. In the four prints of the proceedings at an election, which are 
the laft of his pictures of this defcription, publifhed in 1754, Hogarth rifes 
again, and approaches in fome degree to his former elevation. 

In 1757, on the death of his brother-in-law, John Thornhill, the 
office of fergeant-painter of all his Majefty's works became vacant, and it 
was beflowed upon Hogarth, who, according to his own account, received 
from it an income of about ^200 a-year. This appointment caufed 
another difplay of hoftility towards him, and his enemies called him 
jeeringly the king's chief panel painter. It was at this moment that a 
plan for the eftablifhment of an academy of the fine arts was agitated, 


446 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

which, a few years later, came into exiflence under the title of the Royal 
Academy, and Hogarth proclaimed fo loud an oppofition to this project, 
that the old cry was raifed anew, that he was jealous and envious of all 
his profeffion, and that he fought to fland alone as fuperior to them all. 
It was the fignal for a new onflaught of caricatures upon himfelf and his 
line of beauty. Hitherto his aflailants had been found chiefly among the 
artifls, but the time was now approaching when he was deftined to thruft 
himfelf into the midft of a political struggle, where the attacks of a new 
clafs of enemies carried with them a more bitter fling. 

George II. died on the 17th of October, 1760, and his grandfon 
fucceeded him to the throne as George III. It appears evident that 
before this time Hogarth had gained the favour of lord Bute, who, by his 
interefl with the princefs of Wales, was all-powerful in the houfehold of 
the young prince. The painter had hitherto kept tolerably clear of politics 
in his prints, but now, unluckily for himfelf, he fuddenly rufhed into the 
arena of political caricature. It was generally faid that Hogarth's object 
was, by difplaying his zeal in the caufe of his patron, lord Bute, to obtain 
an increafe in his pennon ; and he acknowledges himfelf that his object 
was gain. "This," he fays, "being a period when war abroad and 
contention at home engroffed every one's mind, prints were thrown into 
the background ; and the flagnation rendered it neceffary that I mould 
do fome timed thing [the italics are Hogarth's] to recover my loft time, 
and flop a gap in my income." Accordingly he determined to attack 
the great minifler, Pitt, who had then recently been compelled to refign 
his office, and had gone over to the oppofition. It is faid that John 
Wilkes, who had previoufly been Hogarth's friend, having been privately 
informed of his deiign, went to the painter, expoftulated with him, and, 
as he continued obflinate, threatened him with retaliation. In Sep- 
tember, 1762, appeared the print entitled " The Times, No. 1," indicating 
that it was to be followed by a fecond caricature. The principal features 
of the picture are thefe : Europe is reprefented in flames, which are 
communicating to Great Britain, but lord Bute, with foldiers and failors, 
and the afliftance of Highlanders, is labouring to extinguiih them, while 
Pitt is blowing the fire, and the duke of Newcaflle brings a barrowful of 


in Literature and Art. 


Monitors and North Britons, the violent journals of the popular party, to 
feed it. There is much detail in the print which it is not neceffary to 
defcribe. In fulfilment of his threat, Wilkes, in the number of the 
North Briton published en the Saturday immediately following the pub- 
lication of this print, attacked Hogarth with extraordinary bitternefs, 
calling cruel reflections upon his domeftic as well as his profeflional 
character. Hogarth, ftung to the quick, retaliated by publifhing the well- 
known caricature of Wilkes. Thereupon Churchill, the poet, Wilkes's 
friend, and formerly the friend of Hogarth alfo, publifhed a bitter invective 








No. 211. An Independent Draught/man. 

in verfe againft the painter, under the title of an " Epiftle to William 
Hogarth." Hogarth retaliated again: " Having an old plate by me," 
he tells us, " with fome parts ready, fuch as a background and a dog, 
I began to confider how I could turn fo much work laid afide to fome 
account, fo patched up a print of Matter Churchill in the character of a 
bear." The unfinifhed picture was intended to be a portrait of Hogarth 
himfelf ; the canonical bear, which reprefented Churchill, held a pot of 


44 8 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

porter in one hand, and in the other a knotted club, each knot labelled 
"lie i," " lie 2," &c. The painter, in his "Anecdotes," exults over the 
pecuniary profit he derived from the extenfive fale of thefe two prints. 

The virulence of the caricaturists againft Hogarth became on this 
occafion greater than ever. Parodies on his own works, fneers at his 
perfonal appearance and manners, reflections upon his character, were 
all embodied in prints which bore fuch names as Hogg-afs, Hoggart, 
O'Garth, &c. Our cut No. 211 reprefents one of the caricature portraits 
of the artift. It is entitled "Wm. Hogarth, Efq., drawn from the Life." 
Hogarth wears the thiflle on his hat, as the fign of his dependence on 
lord Bute. At his breaft hangs his palette, with the line of beauty 
infcribed upon it. He holds behind his back a roll of paper infcribed 
" Burlefque on L — d B — t." In his right hand he prefents to view two 
pictures, " The Times," and the " Portrait of Wilkes." At the upper 
corner to the left is the figure of Bute, offering him in a bag a penfion of 
tf s£^oo per ann." Some of the alluvions in this picture are now obfcure, 
but they no doubt relate to anecdotes well known at the time. They 
receive fome light from the following mock letters which are written at 
the foot of the plate : — 

" Copy of a Letter from Mr. Hog-garth to Lord Mucklemon y iv*h his Lordjhip^s Anfiver. 

" My Lord, — The enclosed is a design I intend to publish ; you are sensible it 
will not redound to your honour, as it will expose you to all the world in your 
proper colours. You likewise know what induced me to do this ; but it is in y r 
power to prevent it from appearing in publick, which I would have you do 

"Will m Hog-garth. 

" Mais r Hog-garth, — By my saul, mon, I am sare troobled for what I have 
done; I did na ken y r muckle merit till noow ; say na mair aboot it; I'll mak au 
things easy to you, & gie you bock your Pension. 

"Sawney Mucklemon." 

In an etching without a title, publifhed at this time, and copied in 
our cut No. 212, the Hogarthian dog is reprefented barking from a 
cautious diflance at the canonical bear, who appears to be meditating 
further mifchief. Pugg ftands upon his mailer's palette and the line of 
beauty, while Bruin refts upon the " Epiftle to Wm. Hogarth," with the 


in Literature and Art. 


pen and ink by its fide. On the left,, behind the dog, is a large frame, 
with the words " Pannel Painting" infcribed upon it. 

The article by Wilkes in the North Briton, and Churchill's metrical 
epiftle, irritated Hogarth more than all the hoftile caricatures, and were 

No. I'Z. Beauty and the Bear. 

generally believed to have broken his heart. He died on the 26th of 
October, 1764, little more than a year after the appearance of the attack 
by Wilkes, and with the taunts of his political as well as his profeflional 
enemies ftill ringing in his ears. 

3 m 

45 o Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 








THE fchool of caricature which had grown amid the political agitation 
of the reigns of the two nrft Georges, gave birth to a number of 
men of greater talent in the fame branch of art, who carried it to its 
higheft degree of perfection during that of George III. Among them 
are the three great names of Gillray, Rowlandfon, and Cruikihank, and 
a few who, though fecond in rank to thefe, are Hill well remembered for 
the talent difplayed in their works, or with the effect they produced on 
contemporaries. Among thefe the principal were Paul Sandby, John 
Collet, Sayer, Bunbury, and Woodward. 

Sandby has been fpoken of in the laft chapter. He was not by pro- 
feffion a caricaturift, but he was one of thofe rifing artifts who were 
offended by the fneering terms in which Hogarth fpoke of all artifts but 
himfelf, and he was foremoft among thofe who turned their fatire 
againft him. Examples of his caricatures upon Hogarth have already 
been given, fufflcient to ihow that they difplay ITdll in compofition as 
well as a large amount of wit and humour. After his death, they vvere 
republifhed collectively, under the title, " Retrofpective Art, frc n the 
Collection of the late Paul Sandby, Efq., R.A." Sandby was, indeed, 
one of the original members of the Royal Academy. He was in artift 


in Literature and Art. 

45 1 

much admired in his time, but is now chiefly remembered as a topo- 
graphical draughtfman. He was a native of Nottingham, where he was 
born in 1725,* and he died on the 7th of November, 1809^ 

John Collet, who alfo has been mentioned in a previous chapter, was 
born in London in 1725, and died there in 1780. Collet is faid to have 
been a pupil of Hogarth, and there is a large amount of Hogarthian cha- 
racter in all his defigns. Few artifts have been more induftrious and 

ZI3- A Difajler. 

produced a greater number of engravings. He worked chiefly for 
Carrington Bowles, in St. Paul's Churchyard, and for Robert Sayers, at 
53, Fleet Street. His prints publifhed by Bowles were engraved generally in 


* His death is usually placed, but erroneously, in 1732. 

f Sandby etched landscapes on steel, and in aquatinta, the latter by a method 
peculiarly his own, besides painting in oil and opaque colours. But his fame rests 
mainly on being the founder of the English school of iva'er-cdour painting, since he 
was the first to show the capability of that material to produce- finished pictures, 
and to lead the way to the perfection in effect and colour to which that branch of 
art has since attain-d. 

452 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

mezzotinto, and highly coloured for falej while thofe publifhed by Sayers 
were ufually line engravings, and fometimes remarkably well executed. 
Collet chofe for his field of labour that to which Hogarth had given the 
title of comedy in art, but he did not poffefs Hogarth's power of delineat- 
ing whole acts and fcenes in one picture, and he contented himfelf with 
bits of detail and groups of characters only. His caricatures are rarely poli- 
tical — they are aimed at focial manners and focial vanities and weakneffes, 
and altogether they form a Angularly curious picture of fociety during 
an important period of the laft century. The firft. example I give (No. 
213) is taken from a line engraving, publilhed by Sayers in 1776. At this 
time the natural adornments of the perfon in both fexes had fo far yielded 
to artificial ornament, that even women cut off their own hair in order to 
replace it by an ornamental peruque, fupporting a head-drefs, which varied 
from time to time in form and in extravagance. Collet has here intro- 
duced to us a lady who, encountering a fudden and violent wind, has loft 
all her upper coverings, and wig, cap, and hat are caught by her footman 
behind. The lady is evidently fuffering under the feeling of fhame ; and 
hard by, a cottager and his wife, at their door, are laughing at her dif- 
comfiture. A bill fixed againft a neighbouring wall announces " A 
Lecture upon Heads." 

At this time the " no-popery " feeling ran very high. Four years 
afterwards it broke out violently in the celebrated lord Gordon riots. It 
was this feeling which contributed greatly to the fuccefs of Sheridan's 
comedy of " The Duenna," brought out in 1775. Collet drew feveral 
pictures founded upon fcenes in this play, one of which is given in our cut 
No. 214. It forms one of Carington Bowles's rather numerous feries of 
prints from defigns by Collet, and reprefents the well-known drinking 
fcene in the convent, in the fifth fcene of the third act of "The Duenna." 
The fcene, it will be remembered, is "a room in the priory," and the 
excited monks are toafting, among other objects of devotion, the abbefs 
of St. Urfuline and the blue-eyed nun of St. Catherine's. The " blue- 
eyed nun" is, perhaps, the lady feen through the window, and the patron 
faint of her convent is reprefented in one of the pictures on the wall. 
There is great fpirit in this picture, which is entitled '* Father Paul in his 


in Literature and Art. 


Cups, or the Private Devotions of a Convent, 
the following lines : — 

It is accompanied with 

See ivith thefe friars hoiv religion thrives, 
Who love good living better than good lives ; 
Paul, the fuperior father, rules the roajl, 
His god 'i the glafs, the blue-eyed nun his too/}. 
Thus priefts conjume ivhat fearful fools bejioiv. 
And faints' 1 donations make the bumpers floiv. 
The butler Jleeps — the cellar door is free — 
This is a modern cloifer's piety. 

From Collet to Sayer we rufh into the heat — I may fay into the 
bitternefs — of politics, for James Sayer is known, with very trifling ex- 

No. 214. Father Paul in his Cups. 

ceptions, as a political caricaturift. He was the fon of a captain of a 
merchant fhip at Great Yarmouth, but was himfelf put to the profef- 
fion of an attorney. As, however, he was poflefTed of a moderate inde- 
pendence, and appears to have had no great tafte for the law, he neglected 
his bufinefs, and, with confiderable talent for fatire and caricature, he 
threw himfelf into the political ftrife of the day. Sayer was a bad 


454 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

draughtsman, and his pictures are produced more by labour than by fkill 
in drawing, but they pofTefs a considerable amount of humour, and were 
fufficiently fevere to obtain popularity at a time when this latter character 
excufed worfe drawing even than that of Sayer. He made the acquaint- 
ance and gained the favour of the younger William Pitt, when that 
ftatefman was afpiring to power, and he began his career as a caricaturift 
by attacking the Rockingham ministry in 1782 — of courfe in the intereft 
of Pitt. Sayer's earlier!: produ6tions which are now known, are a feries of 
caricature portraits of the Rockingham adminiflration, that appear to have 
been given to the public in instalments, at the feveral dates of April 6, 
May 14, June 17, and July 3, 1782, and bear the name of C. Bretherton 
as publiiher. He published his flrft veritable caricature on the occafion of 
the ministerial changes which followed the death of lord Rockingham, 
when lord Shelburne was placed at the head of the cabinet, and Fox and 
Burke retired, while Pitt became chancellor of the exchequer. This 
caricature, which bears the title of " Paradife Loft," and is, in fact, a 
parody upon Milton, reprefents the once happy pair, Fox and Burke, 
turned out of their paradife, the Treafury, the arch of the gate of which 
is ornamented with the heads of Shelburne, the prime minister, and 
Dunning and Barre, two of his ftaunch fupporters, who were confidered 
to be efpecially obnoxious to Fox and Burke. Between thefe three heads 
appear the faces of two mocking fiends, and groups of piftols, daggers, 
and fwords. Beneath are infcribed the well-known lines of Milton — 

To the eafernfide 
Of Paradife, fo late their happy feat, 
Waved ever by that flaming brand ; the gate 
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms I 
Some natural tears they dropt, but iviped them foon. 
The world •was all before them, where to choofe 
Their place of rejl, and providence their guide. 
They, arm in arm, 10'ith •wandering fteps, and flow, 
Thro'' Eden took their folitary 'way. 

Nothing can be more lugubrious than the air of the two friends, Fox and 
Burke, as they walk away, arm in arm, from the gate of the ministerial 
paradife. From this time Sayer, who adopted all Pitt's virulence towards 


in Literature and Art. 


Fox, made the latter a continual fubject of his fa tire. Nor did this zeal 
pafs unrewarded, for Pitt, in power, gave the caricaturift the not unlucra- 
tive offices of marfhal of the court of exchequer, receiver of the flxpenny 
duties, and curfitor. Saver was, in fact, Pitt's caricaturift, and was 
employed by him in attacking fucceiTively the coalition under Fox and 
North, Fox's India Bill, and even, at a later period, Warren Haftings on 
his trial. 

I have already remarked that Saver was almoft exclusively a political 
caricaturift. The exceptions are a few prints on theatrical fubjects, in 

No. 21 ;. A Contraft. 

which contemporary actors and acVeffes are caricatured, and a fmgle 
fubject from falliionable life. A copy of the latter forms our cut 
No. 215. It has no title in the original, but in a copy in my polTeffion 
a contemporary has written on the margin in pencil that the lady is Mils 
Snow and the gentleman Mr. Bird, no doubt well-known perfonages in 
contemporary fociety. It was publithed on the 19th of July, 1785. 

One of Saver's moft fuccefsfhl caricatures, in regard to the effect it 


456 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

produced on the public, was that on Fox's India Bill, publifhed on the 
5th of September, 1783. It was entitled "Carlo Khan's Triumphal 
Entry into Leadenhali Street,' 1 Carlo Khan being perfonified by Fox, 
who is carried in triumph to the door of the India Houfe on the back of 
an elephant, which prefents the face of lord North. Burke, who had 
been the principal fupporter of the bill in debate, appears in the character 
of the imperial trumpeter, and leads the elephant on its way. On a 
banner behind Carlo, the old infcription, " The Man of the People," the 
title popularly given to Fox, is erafed, and the two Greek words, 
BA^IAEYS BASIAEON, "king of kings," fubftituted in its place. 
From a chimney above, the bird of ill omen croaks forth the doom of the 
ambitious minifter, who, it was pretended, aimed at making himfelf more 
powerful than the king himfelf 5 and on the fide of the houfe juft below 
we read the words — 

The night-cronv cried foreboding lucklefs time. — Shakespeare. 

Henry William Bunbury belonged to a more ariftocratic clafs in 
fociety than any of the preceding. He was the fecond fon of fir 
William Bunbury, Bart., of Mildenhall, in the county of Suffolk, and 
was born in 1750. How he firfl took fo zealoufly to caricature we have 
no information, but he began to publilh before he was twenty-one years 
of age. Bunbury's drawing was bold and often good, but he had little 
fkill in etching, for fome of his earlier prints, publifhed in 1771, which he 
etched himfelf, are coarfely executed. His defigns were afterwards 
engraved by various perfons, and his own fiyle was fometimes modified in 
this procefs. His earlier prints were etched and fold by James Bretherton, 
who has been already mentioned as publishing the works of James Sayer. 
This Bretherton was in fome efleem as an engraver, and he alfo had a 
print-fhop at 132, New Bond Street, where his engravings were publifhed. 
James had a fon named Charles, who difplayed great talent at an early 
age, but he died young. As early as 1772, when the macaronis (the 
dandies of the eighteenth century) came into fafhion, James Bretherton's 
name appears on prints by Bunbury as the engraver and publifher, and it 
occurs again as the engraver of his print of " Strephon and Chloe " in 


1801, which was publifhed by Fores. At this and a later period forae of 
his defigns were engraved by Rowlandfon, who always transferred his 
own ftyle to the drawings he copied. A remarkable mftance of this is 
furnifhed by a print of a party of anglers of both fexes in a punt, entitled 
" Anglers of 1811 " (the year of Bunbury's death). But for the name, 
" H. Bunbury, del.," very diftinctly infcribed upon it, we fhould take this 
to be a genuine defign by Rowlandfon ; and in 1803 Rowlandfon 
engraved fome copies of Bunbury's prints on horfemanfhip for Acker- 
mann, of the Strand, in which all traces of Bunbury's ftyle are loft. 
Bunbury's ftyle is rather broadly burlefque. 

Bunbury had evidently little tafte for political caricature, and he 

No. 216. Hoiv to Travel on Tivo Legs in a Froji. 

feldom meddled with it. Like Collet, he preferred fcenes of focial life, 
and humorous incidents of contemporary manners, fafhionable 01 
popular. He had a great tafte for caricaturing bad or awkward horfe- 
manfhip or unmanageable horfes, and his prints of fuch fubje6ts were 
numerous and greatly admired. This tafte for equeftrian pieces was 
fhown in prints publifhed in 1772, and feveral droll feries of fuch fubje&s 
appeared at different times, between 1781 and 1791, one of which was 
long famous under the title of " Geoffrey Gambado's Horfemanfhip." 

3 n Am 

458 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefaue 

An example of thefe incidents of horfemanfhip is copied in our cut 
No. 216, where a not very Ikilful rider, with a troublefome horfe, is 
taking advantage of the ftate of the ground for accelerating locomotion. 
It is entitled, "How to travel on Two Legs in a Froft," and is accom- 
panied with the motto, in Latin, " OJiendunt terris hunc tantum fata, 
neque ultra ejfe Jinent ." 

Occasionally Bunbury drew in a broader ftyle of caricature, efpecially 
in fome of his later works. Of our examples of this broader ftyle, 
the firfi cut, No. 217, entitled "Strephon and Chloe," is dated the 

No. 217. Strephon and Chloe. 

i ft of July, 1 80 1. It is the very acme of fentimental courtfhip, expreffed 
in a fpirit of drollery which could not eafily be excelled. The next group 
(cut No. 218), from a fimilar print publifhed on the 21ft of July in the 
fame year, is a no lefs admirable pi6ture of overftrained politenefs. It is 
entitled in the original, " The Salutation Tavern," probably with a tem- 
porary alluiion beyond the more apparent defign of the pidure. Bunbury, 
as before ftated, died in 181 1. It is enough to fay that fir Jofhua 
Reynolds ufed to exprefs a high opinion of him as an artift. 

Bunbury's prints rarely appeared without his name, and, except 
when they had pafled through the engraving of Rowlandfon, are 
eafily recognifed. No doubt his was confidered a popular name, 
which was almoft of as much importance as the print itfelf. But 

in Literature and Art. 


a large raafs of the caricatures publifhed at the latter end cf the laft 
century and the beginning of the prefent, appeared anonymoufly, or 
with imaginary names. Thus a political print, entitled " The Modern 
Atlas," bears the infcription " Maf r Hook fecit 3" another entitled 
"Farmer George delivered," has that of "Poll Pitt del." "Every- 
body delinit," is infcribed on a caricature entitled "The Lover's Leap j" 
and one which appeared under the title of "Veterinary Operations," 
is infcribed " Giles Grinagain fecV' Some of thefe were probably 

No. a 1 8. A Fajhhnable Salutation. 

the works of amateurs, for there appear to have been many amateur 
caricaturifts in England at that time. In a caricature entitled "The 
Scotch Arms," publifhed by Fores on the 3rd of January, 1787, we find 
the announcement, " Gentlemen's defigns executed gratis," which means, 
of courfe, that Fores would publifh the caricatures of amateurs, if he 
approved them, without making the faid amateurs pay for the engraving. 
But alfo fome of the beft caricaturifts of the day publifhed much anony- 
moufly, and we know that this was the cafe to a very great extent with 
fuch artifls as Cruikfhank, Woodward, &c, at all events until fuch time 
as their names became fufficiently popular to be a recommendation to the 
print. It is certain that many of Woodward's defigns were publifhed 


460 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

without his name. Such was the cafe with the print of which we give a 
copy in our cut No. 219, which was publifhed on the 5th of May, 1796, 
and which bears flrongly the marks of Woodward's ftyle. The fpring of 
this year, 1 796, witneffed a general difappointment at the failure of the 
negociations for peace, and therefore the neceflity of new facrifices for 
carrying on the war, and of increafed taxation. Many clever caricatures 
appeared on this occafion, of which this by Woodward was one. Of 

No. 21 9. General Complaint. 

courfe, when war was inevitable, the queftion of generals was a very 
important one, and the caricaturift pretends that the greateft general of 
the age was " General Complaint. ' The general appears here with an 
empty purfe in his right hand, and in his left a handful of papers contain- 
ing a lift of bankrupts, the flatement of the budget, &c. Four lines 
beneath, in rather doggrel verfe, explain the fituation as follows : — 

Don't tell me of generals ra'ijed from mere boys, 

Though^ believe me, I mean not their laurel to taint ; 

But the general, Fm Jure, that will make the mojl noije 3 
If the war fill goes on, will be General Complaint. 


in Literature and Art, 


There was much of Bunbury's ftyle in that of Woodward, who had a 
tafte for the fame broad caricatures upon fociety, which he executed in a 
fimilar fpirit. Some of the fuites of fubjecls of this defcription that he 
pub! imed, fuch as the feries of the " Symptoms of the Shop," thofe of 
" Everybody out of town " and " Everybody in Town," and the " Speci- 
mens of Domeftic Phrenfy," are extremely clever and amufing. Wood- 
ward's defigns were alfo not unfrequently engraved by Rowlandfon, who, 
as ufual, imprinted his own ftyle upon them. A very good example of 
this practice is feen in the print of which we give a copy in our cut 
No. 220. Its title, in the original, is " Defire," and the paffion is 

No. 220. Defire. 

exemplified in the cafe of a hungry fchoolboy watching through a window 
a jolly cook carrying by a tempting plum-pudding. We are told in an 
infcription underneath : "Various are the ways this paffion might be 
depicted ; in this delineation the fabjects chofen are fimple — a hungry 
boy and a plum-pudding." The defign of this print is ftated to be 
Woodward's 3 but the ftyle is altogether that of Rowlandfon, whofe name 
appears on it as the etcher. It was published by R. Ackermann, on the 


462 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

20th of January, 1800. Woodward is well known by his prolific pencil, 
but we are fo little acquainted with the man himfelf, that I cannot flate 
the date either of his birth or of his death. 

There lived at this time in Edinburgh an engraver of fome eminence 
in his way, but whofe name is now nearly forgotten, and, in fa6t, it does 
not occur in the laft edition of Bryan's "Dictionary of Engravers." This 
name was John Kay, which is found attached to prints, of which about 
four hundred are known, with dates extending from 1784 to 181 7. As an 
engraver, Kay poffefled no great talent, but he had confiderable humour, 

No. 221. Looking a Rock in the Face. 

and he excelled in catching and delineating the (Inking points in the 
features and gait of the individuals who then moved in Edinburgh Society. 
In fact, a large proportion of his prints confift of caricature portraits, often 
feveral figures on the fame plate, which is ufually of fmall di mentions. 


in Literature and Art. 46 3 

Among them are many of the profeffors and other diftinguifhed members 
of the univerfity of Edinburgh. Thus one, copied in our cut No. 221, 
reprefents the eminent old geologift, Dr. James Hutton, rather aftonifhed 
at the fhapes which his favourite rocks have fuddenly taken. The original 
print is dated in 1787, ten years before Dr. Hutton's death. The idea of 
giving faces to rocks was not new in the time of John Kay, and it has 
been frequently repeated. Some of thefe caricature portraits are clever 
and amufing, and they are at times very fatirical. Kay appears to have 
rarely ventured on caricature of any other defcription, but there is one 
rare plate by him, entitled "The Craft in Danger," which is ftated in a 
few words pencilled on the copy I have before me, to have been aimed 
at a cabal for propofing Dr. Barclay for a profelTorfhip in the univerflty of 
Edinburgh. It difplays no great talent, and is, in facl, now not very 
intelligible. The figures introduced in it are evidently intended for 
rather caricatured portraits of members of the univeriity engaged in the 
cabal, and are in the ftyle of Kay's other portraits.* 

* In the library of the British Museum there is a collection of John Kay's 
works bound in two volumes quarto, with a title and table of contents in manu- 
script, but whether it is one of a few copies intended for publication, or whether 
it is merely the collection of some individual, I am not prepared to say. It contains 
343 plates, which are stated to be all Kay's works down to the year 181 3, when 
this collection was made. " The Craft in Danger" is not among them. I have 
before me a smaller, but a very choice selection, of Kay's caricatures, the loan of 
which I owe to the kindness of Mr. John Camden Hotten, of Piccadilly. I am 
indebted to Mr. Hotten for many courtesies of this description, and especially for 
the use of a very valuable collection of caricatures of the latter part of the eighteenth 
century and earlier part of the present, mounted in four large folio volumes, which 
has been of much use to me. 

464 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 







TN the year 1757 was born the greateft of Englifh caricaturifts, and 
-■* perhaps of all caricaturifts of modern times whofe works are known — 
James Gillray. His father, who was named like himfelf, James, was a 
Scotchman, a native of Lanark, and a foldier, and, having loft one arm at 
the battle of Fontenoy, became an out-penfioner of Chelfea Hofpital. He 
obtained alfo the appointment of fexton at the Moravian burial-ground at 
Chelfea, which he held forty years, and it was at Chelfea that James 
Gillray the younger was born. The latter, having no doubt fhown figns 
of artiftic talent, was put apprentice to letter-engraving ; but after a time, 
becoming difgufted with this employment, he ran away, and joined a party 
of ftrolling players, and in their company pafled through many adven- 
tures, and underwent many hardihips. He returned, however to London, 
and received fome encouragement as a promifing artift, and obtained 
admiffion as a ftudent in the Royal Academy — the then young inftitution 
to which Hogarth had been oppofed. Gillray foon became known as a 
defigner and engraver, and worked in thefe capacities for the publifhers. 
Among his earlier productions, two illuftrations of Goldfmith's " Deferted 
Village " are fpoken of with praife, as difplaying a remarkable freedom 
of effect. For a long time after Gillray became known as a caricaturift 
he continued to engrave the defigns of other artifts. The earlieft known 
caricature which can be afcribed to him with any certainty, is the plate 
entitled " Paddy on Horfeback," and dated in 1779, when he was twenty- 
two years of age. The "horfe" on which Paddy rides is a bull ; he is 


in Literature and Art. 465 

Seated with his face turned to the tail. The Subject of fatire is fuppofed 
to be the character then enjoyed by the Irifh as fortune-hunters. The 
point, however, is not very apparent, and indeed Gillray's earlieft carica- 
tures are tame, although it is remarkable how rapidly he improved, and 
how foon he arrived at excellence. Two caricatures, publifhed in June 
and July, 1782, on the occafion of admiral Rodney's victory, are looked 
upon as marking his firft decided appearance in politics. 

A distinguishing characteristic of Gillray's Style is, the wonderful tad 
with which he feizes upon the points in his Subject open to ridicule, and 
the force with which he brings thofe points out. In the flnenefs of his 
defign, and in his grouping and drawing, he excels all the other cari- 
caturists. He was, indeed, born with all the talents of a great historical 
painter, and, but for circumstances, he probably would have fhone in that 
branch of art. This excellence will be the more appreciated when it is 
understood that he drew his picture with the needle on the plate, without 
having made any previous iketch of it, except fometimes a few hafty 
outlines of individual portraits or characters fcrawled on cards or fcraps of 
paper as they Struck him. 

Soon after the two caricatures on Rodney's naval victory, the Rocking- 
ham administration was broken up by the death of its chief, and another 
was formed under the direction of Lord Shelburne, from which Fox and 
Burke retired, leaving in it their old colleague, Pitt, who now deferted 
the Whig party in parliament. Fox and Burke became from this moment 
the butt of all forts of abufe and fcornful fatire from the caricaturists, fuch 
as Sayer, and newfpaper writers in the pay of their opponents; and 
Gillray, perhaps becaufe it offered at that moment the beSt chance of 
popularity and fuccefs, joined in the crufade againfl the two ex-miniSters 
and their friends. In one of his caricatures, which is a parody upon Milton, 
Fox is reprefented in the character of Satan, turning his back upon the 
ministerial Paradife, but looking envioufly over his fhoulcler at the happy 
pair (Shelburne and Pitt) who are counting their money on the treafury 
table : — ,.. , . 

Jljide he turned 
For en-vy, yet ivith jealous leer malign 
Eyed them ajkance. 

3 o Another 

466 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefq 


Another, alfo by Gillray, is entitled " Guy Faux and Judas Ifcariot," the 
former reprefented by Fox, who difcovers the defertion of his late colleague, 
lord Shelburne, by the light of his lantern, and recriminates angrily, 
"Ah! what, I've found you out, have I? Who arm'd the high priefts 
and the people ? Who betray' d his mas — ?" At this point he is inter- 
rupted by a fneering retort from Shelburne, who is carrying away the 
treafury bag with a look of great felf-complacency, " Ha, ha ! poor Gun- 
powder's vexed ! He, he, he ! — Shan't have the bag, I tell you, old 
Goofetooth !" Burke was ufually caricatured as a Jefuit; and in another 
of Gillray's prints of this time (publifhed Aug. 23, 1782), entitled " Cin- 
cinnatus in Retirement," Burke is reprefented as driven into the retire- 
ment of his Irifh cabin, where he is furrounded by Popifh relics and 
emblems of SuperStition, and by the materials for drinking whiiky. A 
veifel, infcribed " Relick No. 1., ufed by St. Peter," is filled with boiled 
potatoes, which Jefuit Burke is paring. Three imps are feen dancing 
under the table. 

In 1783 the Shelburne ministry itfelf was diffolved, and fucceeded by 
the Portland ministry, in which Fox was fecretary of Hate for foreign 
affairs, and Burke, paymafier of the forces, and Lord North, who had 
joined the Whigs againft lord Shelburne, now obtained office as fecretary 
for the home department. Gillray joined warmly in the attacks on this 
coalition of parties, and from this time his great activity as a caricaturist 
begins. Fox, efpecially, and Burke, Still under the character of a Jefuit, 
were inceifantly held up to ridicule in his prints. In another year this 
ministry alfo was overthrown, and young William Pitt became eftablifhed 
in power, while the ex-minifters, now the opposition, had become un- 
popular throughout the country. The caricature of Gillray followed 
them, and Fox and Burke constantly appeared under his hands in fome 
ridiculous Situation or other. But Gillray was not a hired libeller, like 
Sayer and fome of the lower caricaturists of that time -, he evidently chofe 
his fubjefts, in fome degree independently, as thofe which offered him 
the beft mark for ridicule ; and he had fo little refpect for the minifters 
or the court, that they all felt his fatire in turn. Thus, when the plan of 
national fortifications — brought forward by the duke of Richmond, who 


in Literature and Art. 


had deferted the Whigs to be made a Tory minifter, as mafter-general of 
the ordnance — was defeated in the Houfe of Commons in 1787, the belt 
caricature it provoked was one by Gillray, entitled " Honi foit qui mal y 
penfe," which reprefents the horror of the duke of Richmond at being fo 
unoeremonioufly compelled to fwallow his own fortifications (cut No. 222). 

222. A Strong Dofe, 

It is lord Shelburne, who had now become marquis of Lanfdowne, who 
is reprefented as administering the bitter dofe. Some months afterwards, 
in the famous impeachment againft Warren Haftings, Gillray fided 
warmly againft the impeachers, perhaps partly becaufe thefe were Burke 
and his friends $ yet feveral of his caricatures on this affair are aimed at 
the minifters, and even at the king himfelf. Lord Thurlow, who was a 
favourite with the king, and who fupported the caufe of Warren Haftings 
with firmnefs, after he had been deferted by Pitt and the other minifters, 
was efpecially an object: of Gillray's fatire. Thurlow, it will be remem- 
bered, was rather celebrated for profane fwearing, and was fometimes 
fpoken of as the thunderer. One of the fineit of Gillray's caricatures at 
this period, published on the lit of March, 1788, is entitled "Blood on 
Thunder fording the Red Sea," and reprefents Warren Haftings carried 
on chancellor Thurlow's moulders through a fea of blood, flrewed with 


46 8 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 

the mangled corpfes of Hindoos. As will be feen in our copy of ihe 
moft important part of this print (cut No. 223), the " faviour of India," 
as he was called by his friends, has taken care to fecure his gains. A 
remarkably bold caricature by Gillray againft the government appeared 
on the 2nd of May in this year. It is entitled " Market-Day — every man 
has his price," and reprefents a fcene in Smithfield, where the horned 
cattle expofed for fale are the fupporters of the king's miniftry. Lord 

No. 223. Blood on Thunder. 

Thurlow, with his characleriftic frown, appears as the principal purchafer. 
Pitt, and his friend and colleague Dundas, are reprefented drinking and 
fmoking jovially at the window of a public-houfe. On one fide Warren 
Haftings is riding off with the king in the form of a calf, which he has 
juft purchafed, for Haftings was popularly believed to have worked upon 
king George's avarice by rich prefents of diamonds. On another fide, 
the overwhelming rufh of the cattle is throwing over the van in which 
Fox, Burke, and Sheridan are driving. This plate deferves to be placed 
among Gillray's fineft works. 

Gillray caricatured the heir to the throne with bitternefs, perhaps 


in Literature and Art. 469 

becaufe his difhpation and extravagance rendered him a fair fubje6t of 
ridicule, and becaufe he affociated himfelf with Fox's party in politics ; 
but his hoftility to the king is afcribed in part to perfonal feelings. A 
large and very remarkable print by our artift, though his name was not 
attached to it, and one which difplays in a fpecial manner the great 
characteriitics of Gillray's ftyle, appeared on the 21ft of April, 1786, juft 
after an application had been made to the Houfe of Commons for a large 
fum of money to pay off the king's debts, which were very great, in ipite 
of the enormous income then attached to the crown. George was known 
as a careful and even a parfimonious man, and the queen was looked 
upon generally as a mean and very avaricious woman, and people were 
at a lofs to account for this extraordinary expenditure, and they tried to 
explain it in various ways which were not to the credit of the royal pair. 
It was faid that immenfe fums were fpent in fecret corruption to pave 
the way to the eftablifhment of arbitrary power ; that the king was 
making large favings, and hoarding up treafures at Hanover ; and that, 
inftead of fpending money on his family, he allowed his eldeft fon to run 
into ferious difficulties through the fmallnefs of his allowance, and thus to 
become an object of pity to his French friend, the wealthy due d'Orleans, 
who had offered him relief. The caricature juft mentioned, which is 
extremely fevere, is entitled " A new way to pay the National Debt." 
It reprefents the entrance to the treafury, from which king George and 
his queen, with their band of pensioners, are iffuing, their pockets, 
and the queen's apron, fo full of money, that the coins are rolling out 
and fcattering about the ground. Neverthelefs, Pitt, whofe pockets alfo 
are full, adds to the royal trealures large bags of the national revenue, 
which are received with fmiles of fatisfa&ion. To the left, a crippled 
foldier fits on the ground, and aiks in vain for relief; while the wall above 
is covered with torn placards, on fome of which may be read, " God fave 
the King ;" " Charity, a romance j" " From Germany, juft arrived a large 
and royal affortment .... 3" and " Laft dying fpeech of fifty-four male- 
factors executed for robbing a hen-rooft." The latter is a fatirical allu- 
fion to the notorious feverity with which the moft trifling depredators on 
the king's private farm were profecuted. In the background, on the 


470 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

right hand fide of the picture, the prince appears in ragged garments, and 
in want cf charity no lefs than the cripple, and near him is the duke of 
Orleans, who offers him a draft for ^200,000. On the placards on the 
walls here we read fuch announcements as "Economy, an old fongj" 
"Britifh property, a farce;" and " Juft publilhed, for the benefit of 
pofterity, the dying groans of Liberty 5" and one, immediately over the 
prince's head, bears the prince's feathers, with the motto, " Ich ftarve." 
Altogether this is one of the raoft remarkable of Gillray's caricatures. 

The parfimonioufnefs of the king and queen was the fubje6t of carica- 
tures and fongs in abundance, in which thefe illuftrious perfonages appeared 

No. 224. Farmer George and his Wife. 

haggling with their tradefmen, and making bargains in perfon, rejoicing in 
having thus faved a (mall fum of money. It was laid that George kept a 
farm at Wind for, not for his amufement, but to draw a fmall profit from it. 
By Peter Pindar he is defcribed as rejoicing over the fkill he has fhown 
in purchasing his live ftock as bargains. Gillray feized greedily all thefe 
points of ridicule, and, as early as 1786, he publilhed a print of" Farmer 
George and his Wife '" (fee our cut No. 224), in which the two royal 


in Literature and Art. 47 1 

perfonages are reprefented in the very familiar manner in which they 
were accuftomed to walk about Windfor and its neighbourhood. This 
picture appears to have been very popular; and years afterwards, in a 
caricature on a fcene in "The School for Scandal," where, in the fale of 
the young profligate's effects, the auctioneer puts up a family portrait, for 
which a broker offers five fhillings, and Carelefs, the auctioneer, fays, 
" Going for no more than one crown," the family piece is the well- 
known picture of " Farmer George and his Wife," and the ruined 
prodigal is the prince of Wales, who exclaims, " Careleis, knock down 
the farmer." 

Many caricatures againft the undignified meannefs of the royal houfe- 
hold appeared during the year's 1791 and 1792, when the king paifed 
much of his time at his favourite watering-place, Weymouth 5 and there 
his domeftic habits had become more and more an object of remark. It 
was faid that, under the. pretence of Weymouth' being an expenhve place, 
and taking advantage of the obligations of the royal mail to carry parcels 
for the king free, he had his provifions brought to him by that conveyance 
from his farm at Windfor. On the 28th of November, 1 791, Gillray 
published a caricature on the homelinefs of the royal houfehold, in two 
compartments, in one of which the king is reprefented, in a drefs which is 
anything but that of royalty, toafting his muffins for breakfafl ; and in the 
other, queen Charlotte, in no lefs homely drefs, though her pocket is over- 
flowing with money, toafting fprats for flipper. In another of Gillray's 
prints, entitled " Anti-faccharites," the king and queen are teaching their 
daughters economy in taking their tea without fugar; as the young 
princeffes mow fome diflike to the experiment, the queen admonifhes 
them, concluding with the remark, " Above all, remember how much 
expenfe it will fave your poor papa ! " 

According to a ilory which feems to be authentic, Gillray's diflike of 
the king was embittered at this time by an incident fomewhat fimilar to 
that by which George II. had provoked the anger of Hogarth. Gillray 
had vifited France, Flanders, and Holland, and he had made fketches, 
a few of which he engraved. Our cut No. 225 reprefents a group from 
one of thefe fketches, which explains itfelf, and is a fair example of 


47 2 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotejque 

Gillray's manner of drawing fuch fubjects. He accompanied the painter 
Loutherbourg, who had left his native city of Straiburg to fettle in 
England, and become the king's favourite artifl, to aflift him in making 
lketches for his great painting of " The Siege of Valenciennes," Gillray 
ike tching groups of figures while Loutherbourg drew the landfcape 
and buildings. After their return, the king expreffed a defire to fee 
their lketches, and they were placed before him. Loutherbourg's 
landfcapes and buildings were plain drawings, and eafy to under- 
ftand, and the king expreffed himfelf greatly pleafed with them. But 

No. 225. A Flemijh Proclamation. 

the king's mind was already prejudiced againfl Gillray for his fatirical 
prints, and when he faw his hafty and rough, though fpirited lketches, of 
the French foldiers, he threw them afide contemptuoufly, with the 
remark, " I don't underftand thefe caricatures." Perhaps the very word 
he ufed was intended as a fneer upon Gillray, who, we are told, felt the 
affront deeply, and he proceeded to retort by a caricature, which flruck at 
once at one of the king's vanities, and at his political prejudices. 
George III. imagined himfelf a great connoiffeur in the fine arts, and the 
caricature was entitled ( A Connoiffeur examining a Cooper." It repre- 


in Literature and Art. 473 

fented the king looking at the celebrated miniature of Oliver Cromwell, 
by the Englifh painter, Samuel Cooper. When Gillray had completed 
this print, he is faid to have exclaimed, "I wonder if the royal ccnnoiffeur 
will underftand this ! " It was published on the 18th of June, 1792, and 
cannot have failed to produce a fenfation at that period of revolutions. 
The king is made to exhibit a flrange mixture of alarm with aftonimment 
in contemplating the features of this great overthrower of kingly power, 
at a moment when all kingly power was threatened. It will be remarked, 
too, that the fatirift has not overlooked the royal character for domeftic 

No. 226. A Connoiffeur in Art. 

economy, for, as will be feen in our cut No. 226, the king is looking at 
the picture by the light of a candle-end fmck on a " fave-all." 

From this time Gillray rarely let pafs an opportunity of caricaturing 
the king. Sometimes he pictured his awkward and undignified gait, as 
he was accuftomed to fhuffle along the efplanade at Weymouth ; fome- 
times in the familiar manner in which, in the courfe of his walks in the 
neighbourhood of his Windfor farm, he accofted the commoneft labourers 
and cottagers, and overwhelmed them with a long repetition of trivial 
queflions — for king George had a characterise manner of repeating his 
queftions, and of frequently giving the reply to them himfelf. 

Then ajks the farmers wife, or farmers maid, 
Hoiu many eggs the foivls have laid ; 

3 P What 

474 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque 

What '$ in the oven, in the pot, the crock ; 
Whether "'twill rain or no, and what's 6 'clock } 
Thus from poor hotels gleaning information. 
To f ewe as future trea jure for the nation. 

So faid Peter Pindar ; and in this role king George was reprefented not 
unfrequently in fatirical prints. On the ioth of February Gillray 
illuftrated the quality of " Affability " in a picture of one of thefe ruftic 
encounters. The king and queen, taking their walk, have arrived at a 
cottage, where a very coarfe example of Englifh peafantry is feeding his 
pigs with warn. The fcene is reprefented in our cut No. 227. The vacant 

iVo. 227. Royal Affability. 

dare of the countryman betrays his confuhon at the rapid fucceffion of 
queftions — "Well, friend, where a' you going, hay? — What's your name, 
hay? — Where do you live, hay? — hay?" In other prints the king is 
reprefented running into ludicrous adventures while hunting, an amufe- 


in Literature and Art. 


ment to which he was extremely attached. One of the beft known of 
thefe has been celebrated equally by the pen of Peter Pindar and by the 
needle of Gillray. It was faid that one day while king George was 
following the chafe, he came to a poor cottage, where his ufual curiofity 
was rewarded by the difcovery of an old woman making apple dumplings. 
When informed what they were, he could not conceal his aftonithment 
how the apples could have been introduced without leaving a feam in 
their covering. In the caricature by Gillray, from which we take our cut 
No. 228, the king is reprefented looking at the procefs of dumpling mak- 
ing through the window, inquiring in aftonilhment, " Hay ? hay ? apple 

A Lejfon in Apple Dumplings. 

dumplings ? — how get the apples in ? — how ? Are they made without 
feams?" The ftory is told more fully in the following verfes of Peter 
Pindar, which will ferve as the beft commentary on the engraving : — 


Once on a time a monarch, tired ivith whooping. 
Whipping and /purring, 
Happy in worrying 
A poor, defencelefs, harmlejs buck 
(The horfe and rider ivet as muck J, 
Fr;m his high conjequence and iv'ijdom [looping, 
Entered through curiofity a cot, 
Where jat a poor old -woman and her pot. 


476 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

The wrinkled, blear-eyed, good old granny , 

In this fame cot, ilium 1 d by many a cranny, 
Hadfnifh'd apple dumplings for her pot. 

In tempting row the naked dumplings lay, 

When lo ! the monarch in his ufual way 
Like lightening Jpoke, tl What this f what this ? what ? what /"' 
Then taking up a dumpling in his handy 
His eyes with admiration did expand. 

And oft did majejly the dumpling grapple. 
"'T/i monflrous, monjlrous hard, indeed f " he cried } 
" What makes it, <pray,fo hard ? " — The dame replied. 

Low curt/eying, " Pleafe your majejly, the apple.'"' 
" Very ajlonijhing, indeed ! flrange thing ! " 
Turning the dumpling round, rejoined the king ; 

" ""lis mojl extraordinary then, all this is — 

It beats PinettVs conjuring all to pieces — 
Strange IJbould never of a dumpling dream ! 
But, Goody, tell me where, where, Where's the f earn t " 
" Sir, there^s no /earn,'"' quoth (he, " I never knew 
That folks did apple dumplings few.' 1 '' 
" No / " cried the flaring monarch with a grin, 
" How, how the devil got the apple in ?^ 
On which the dame the curious fc hems reveal* d 
By which the apple lay fo fly concealed, 

Which made the Solomon of Britain fart ; 
Who to the palace with full fpeed repaired 
And queen, and princeffes fo beauteous, feared^ 

All with the wonders of the dumpling art. 
There did he labour one whole week, tofbow 

The wifdom of an apple dumpling maker ,• 
And lo! fo deep was majejly in dough, 
The palace feern d the lodging of a baker ! 

Gillray was not the only caricaturifr. who turned the king's weakneffes 
to ridicule, but none caricatured them with fo little gentlenefs, or 
evidently with fo good a will. On the 7th of March, 1796, the princefs 
of Wales gave birth to a daughter, fo well known fince as the princefs 
Charlotte. The king is faid to have been charmed with his grandchild, 
and this fentiment appears to have been anticipated by the public, for 
on the 13th of February, when the princefs's accouchment was looked 
forward to with general intereft, a print appeared under the title of 
" Grandpapa in his Glory." In this caricature, which is given in 


in Literature and Art. 


our cut No. 229, king George, feated, is reprefented nurfing and 
feeding the royal infant in an extraordinary degree of homelinefs. He 
is ringing the nurfery rhyme — 

There was a laugh and a craw, 

There ivas a giggling honey. 
Goody good girl [hall be fed, 

But naughty girl [hall have noney. 

This print bears no name, but it is known to be by Woodward, though 
it betrays an attempt to imitate the ftyle of Gillray. Gillray was often 

No. 229. Grandfather George. 

imitated in this manner, and his prints were not unfrequently copied and 
pirated. He even at times copied himfelf, and difguifed his own flyle, 
for the fake of gaining money. 

At the period of the regency bill in 1789, Gillray attacked Pitt's 
policy in that affair with great feverity. In a caricature publifhed on the 
3rd of January, he drew the premier in the character of an over-gorged 
vulture, with one claw fixed firmly on the crown and fceptre, and with 


478 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

the other feizing upon the prince's coronet, from which he is plucking 
the feathers. Among other good caricatures on this occafion, perhaps 
the finer! is a parody on Fufeli's picture of "The Weird Sifters," in which 
Dundas, Pitt, and Thurlow, as the fillers, are contemplating the moon, 
the bright fide of whofe difc reprefents the face of the queen, and the 
other that of the king, overcaft with mental darknefs. Gillray took a 
ftrongly hoflile view of the French revolution, and produced an immenfe 
number of caricatures againft the French and their rulers, and their 
friends, or fuppofed friends, in this country, during the period extending 
from 1790 to the earlier years of the prefent century. Through all the 
changes of miniftry or policy, he feems to have fixed hi mfelf ftrongly on 
individuals, and he feldom ceafed to caricature the perfon who had once 
provoked his attacks. So it was with the lord chancellor Thurlow, who 
became the butt of favage fatire in fome of his prints which appeared in 
1792, at the time when Pitt forced him to refign the chancellorfhip. 
Among thefe is one of the boldeft caricatures which he ever executed. 
It is a parody, fine almoft to fublimity, on a well-known fcene in Milton, 
and is entitled, " Sin, Death, and the Devil." The queen, as Sin, rufhes 
to feparate the two combatants, Death (in the femblance of Pitt) and 
Satan (in that of Thurlow). During the latter part of the century Gillray 
caricatured all parties in turn, whether minifterial or oppofition, with 
indifcriminate vigour 5 but his hoftility towards the party of Fox, whom 
he perfifted in regarding, or at leaft in reprefenting, as unpatriotic revo- 
lutionifts, was certainly greater!:. In 1803 he worked energetically againft 
the Addington miniftry ; and in 1806 he caricatured that which was 
known by the title of "All the Talents 3" but during this later period of 
his life his labours were more efpecially aimed at keeping up the fpirit of 
his countrymen againft the threats and defigns of our foreign enemies. 
It was, in fact, the caricature which at that time met with the greateft 

In his own perfon, Gillray had lived a life of great irregularity, and as 
he grew older, his habits of diffipation and intemperance increafed, and 
gradually broke down his intellect. Towards the year 181 £ he ceafed 
producing any original works ; the laft plate he executed was a drawing 


in Literature and Art. 479 

of Bunbury's, entitled "A Barber's Shop in Aflize Time/ which is 
fuppofed to have been finiihed in the January of that year. Soon after- 
wards his mind fank into idiotcy, from which it never recovered. James 
Gillray died in 1B15, and was buried in St. James's churchyard, Piccadilly, 
near the rectory houfe. 

480 Hi/lory of Caricature and Grotefque 





GILLRAY was, beyond all others, the great political caricaturift of 
his age. His works form a complete hiftory of the greater and 
more important portion of the reign of George III. He appears to have 
had lefs tafle for general caricature, and his caricatures on focial life are 
lefs numerous, and with a few exceptions lefs important, than thofe which 
were called forth by political events. The exceptions are chiefly fatires 
on individual characters, which are marked by the fame bold ftyle which 
is difplayed in his political attacks. Some of his caricatures on the 
extravagant coftume of the time, and on its more prominent vices, fuch 
as the rage for gambling, are alfo fine, but his focial (ketches generally 
are much inferior to his other works. 

This, however, was not the cafe with his contemporary, Thomas 
Rowlandfon, who doubtlefsly (lands fecond to Gillray, and may, in fome 
refpe£ts, be conndered his equal. Rowlandfon was born in the Old 
Jewry in London, the year before that of the birth of Gillray, in the July 
of 1756. His father was a city merchant, who had the means to give 
him a good education, but embarking rafhly in fome unfuccefsful fpecula- 
tions, he fell into reduced circumftances, and the fon had to depend upon 
the liberality of a relative. His uncle, Thomas Rowlandfon, after whom 
probably he was named, had married a French lady, a Mademoifelle 
Chatelier, who was now a widow, rending in Paris, with what would be 
conndered in that capital a handfome fortune, and (he appears to have 
been attached to her Englifh nephew, and fupplied him rather freely with 
money. Young Rowlandfon had fhown at an early age great talent for 


in Literature and Art. 481 

drawing, with an efpecial turn for fatire. As a fchoolboy, he covered the 
margins of his books with caricatures upon his mailer and upon hisfellow- 
fcliolars, and at the age of fixteen he was admitted a Undent in the Royal 
Academy in London, then in its infancy. Bat he did not profit imme- 
diately by this admiflion, for his aunt invited him to Paris, where he 
began and followed his ftudies in art with great fuccefs, and was remarked 
for the lkiil with which he drew the human body. His ftudies from 
nature, while in Paris, are faid to have been remarkably fine. Nor did 
his tafte for fatirical defign fail him, for it was one of his greateft amufe- 
ments to caricature the numerous individuals, and groups of individuals, 
who muft in that age have prefented objects of ridicule to a lively 
Englifhman. During this time his aunt died, leaving him all her 
property, confuting of about ^7,000 in money, and a considerable amount 
in plate and other objects. The fudden polfeffion of fo much money 
proved a misfortune to young Rowlandfon. He appears to have had an 
early love for gaiety, and he now yielded to all the temptations to vice 
held out by the French metropolis, and efpecially to an uncontrollable 
paffion for gambling, through which he foon diffipated his fortune. 

Before this, however, had been effected, Rowlandfon, after having 
redded in Paris about two years, returned to London, and continued his 
ftudies in the Royal Academy. But he appears for fome years to have 
given himfelf up entirely to his diffipated habits, and to have worked only 
at intervals, when he was driven to it by the want of money. We are 
told by one who was intimate with him, that, when reduced to this con- 
dition, he ufed to exclaim, holding up his pencil, " I have been playing 
the fool, but here is my refource!" and he would then produce — with 
extraordinary rapidity — caricatures enough to fupply his momentary 
wants. Mod of Rowlandfon's earlier productions were publifhed anony- 
moufly, but here and there, among large collections, we meet with a 
print, which, by companion of the ftyle with that of his earner! 
known works, we can hardly hefitate in afcribing to him ; and from 
thefe it would appear that he had begun with political caricature, 
becaufe, perhaps, at that period of great agitation, it w r as moil caiied 
for, and, therefore, moft profitable. Three of the earlieft of the political 

3 a caricatures 

482 Hi ft or y of Caricature and Grotefque 

caricatures thus afcribed to Rowlandfon belong to the year 1784, 
when he was twenty-eight years of age, and relate to the di Ablution of 
parliament in that year, the refult of which was the eftablifhment of 
William Pitt in power. The nrft, publifhed on the nth of March, is 
entitled " The Champion of the People." Fox is reprefented under this 
title, armed with the fword of Juftice and the fhield of Truth, combat- 
ing the many-headed hydra, its mouths refpectively breathing forth 
"Tyranny," "AfTumed Prerogative," "Defpotifm," "Oppreflion," " Secret 
Influence," " Scotch Politics," " Duplicity," and " Corruption." Some 
of thefe heads are already cut off. The Dutchman, Frenchman, and 
other foreign enemies are feen in the background, dancing round the 
ftandard of" Sedition." Fox is fupported by numerous bodies of Englifh 
and Irithmen, the Englifh thouting, "While he protects us, we will 
fupport him." The Irifh, " He gave us a free trade and all we afked ; 
he fhall have our firm fupport." Natives of India, in allufion to his un- 
fuccefsful India Bill, kneel by his fide and pray for his fuccefs. The 
lecond of thefe caricatures was pubhihed on the 26th of March, and is 
entitled "The State Auction." Pitt is the auctioneer, and is reprefented 
as knocking down with the hammer of "prerogative" all the valuable 
articles of the conflitution. The clerk is his colleague, Henry Dundas, 
who holds up a weighty lot, entitled, "Lot 1. The Rights of the People." 
Pitt calls to him, " Show the lot this way, Harry — a'going, a'going — 
fpeak quick, or it's gone — hold up the lot, ye Dund-afs !" The clerk 
replies in his Scottifh accent, " I can hould it na higher, iir." The Whig 
members, under the title of the " chofen reprefenters," are leaving the 
auction room in difcouragement, with reflections in their mouths, fuch as, 
"Adieu to Liberty!" " Defpair not !' " Now or never ! "' While Fox 
flands firm in the caufe, and exclaims — "I am determined to bid wiai 
fpirit for Lot 1 ; he fhall pay dear for it that outbids me !" Pitt's Tory 
fupporters are ranged under the auctioneer, and are called the " here- 
ditary virtuous j" and their leader, who appears to be the lord chancellor, 
addrefTes them in the words, "Mind not the nonfenfical biddings of thofe 
common fellows." Dundas remarks, "We fhall get the fupplies by this 
fale." The third of thefe caricatures is dated on the 31ft of March, 


in Literature and Art. 483 

when the elections had commenced, and is entitled, " The Hanoverian 
Horfe and Britiih Lion — a Scene in a new Play, lately a£ted in Weft- 
minfter, with diftinguilhed applaufe. A6t 2nd, Scene laft." At the 
back of the picture ftands the vacant throne, with the intimation, "We 
fhall refume our fituation here at pleafure, Leo Rex." In front, the 
Hanoverian horfe, unbridled, and without faddle, neighs " pre-ro-ro-ro-ro- 
rogative," and is trampling on the fafeguard of the conftitution, while it 
kicks out violently the "faithful commons" (alluding to the recent dif- 
folution of parliament). Pitt, on the back of the horfe, cries, " Bravo ! — 
go it again ! — I love to ride a mettled fteed ; fend the vagabonds 
packing!" Fox appears on the other fide of the picture, mounted on the 
Britiih lion, and holding a whip and bridle in his hand. He fays to Pitt, 
"Prithee, Billy, difmount before ye get a fall, and let fome abler jockey 
take your feat j" and the lion obferves, indignantly, but with gravity, 
" If this horfe is not'tamed, he will foon be abfolute king of our foreft." 

If thefe prints are correctly afcribed to Rowlandfon, we fee him here 
fairly entered in the lifts of political caricature, and fiding with Fox and 
the Whig party. He difplays the fame boldnefs in attacking the king 
and his minifters which was difplayed by Gillray — a boldnefs that pro- 
bably did much towards preferving the liberties of the country from what 
was no doubt a refolute attempt to trample upon them, at a time when 
caricature formed a very powerful weapon. Before this time, however, 
Rowlandibn's pencil had become practifed in thofe burlefque pictures of 
focial life for which he became afterwards fo celebrated. At firfl he 
feems to have publifhed his defigns under fictitious names, and one now 
before me, entitled "The Tythe Pig," bears the early date of 1786, with 
the name of " Wigftead," no doubt an aflumed one, which is found on 
fome others of his early prints. It reprefents the country parfon, in his 
own parlour, receiving the tribute of the tithe pig from an interesting 
looking farmer's wife. The name of Rowlandfon, with the date 1792, 
is attached to a very clever and humorous etching which is now alfo 
before me, entitled " Cold Broth and Calamity," and reprefenting a party 
of fkaters, who have fallen in a heap upon the ice, which is breaking 
under their weight. It bears the name of Fores as publilher. From 


484 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotejque 

this time, and efpecially toward the c\ofe of the century, Rowlandfon's 
caricatures on focial life became very numerous, and they are lb well 
known that it becomes unnecefTary, nor indeed would it be eafy, to leleft 
a few examples which would illuftrate all his characleriftic excellencies, 
In prints publifhed by Fores at the beginning of 1794, the addrefs of the 
publisher is followed by the words, " where may be had all Rowlandfon's 
works," which fhows how great was his reputation as a caricaturifi at that 
time. It may be ftated briefly that he was diftinguifhed by a remarkable 
verfatility of talent, by a great fecundity of imagination, and by a {kill in 
grouping quite equal to that of Gillray, and with a lingular eafe in 
forming his groups of a great number of figures. Among thofe of his 
contemporaries who fpoke of him with the higher! praife were fir Jofhua 
Reynolds and Benjamin Weft. It has been remarked, too, that no artift 
ever pofTeiTed the power of Rowlandfon of expreffing fo much with fo 
little effort. We trace a great difference in ftyle between Rowlandfon's 
earlier and his later works ; although there is a general identity of cha- 

No. 230. Opera Beauties. 

rafter which cannot be miftaken. The figures in the former fliow a tafte 
for grace and elegance that is rare in his later works, and we find a deli- 
cacy of beauty in his females which he appears afterwards to have entirely 
laid afide. An example of his earlier liyle in depicting female faces is fur- 
nifbed by the pretty farmer's wife, in the print of " The Tythe Pig," juft 
alluded to ; and I may quote as another example, an etching publifhed on 


in Literature and Art. 


the i ft of January, 1794, under the title of " Englifh Curiofity; or, the 
foreigner flared out of countenance." An individual, in a foreign coftume, 
is feated in the front row of the boxes of a theatre, probably intended 
for the opera, where he has become the object of curiofity of the whole 
audience, and all eyes are eagerly directed upon him. The faces of the 
men are rather coarfely grotefque, but thofe of the ladies, two of which 
are given in our cut No. 230, pofTefs a considerable degree of refinement. 
He appears, however, to have been naturally a man of no real refine- 
ment, who eafily gave himfelf up to low and vulgar taftes, and, as his 
caricature became more exaggerated and coarfe, his females became lefs 
and lefs graceful, until his model of female beauty appears to have been 
reprefented by fomething like a fat oyfler-woman. Our cut No. 231, 

iVo. 231. The Trumpet and BaJJoon. 

taken from a print in the pofTeflion of Mr. Fairhok, entitled, "The 
Trumpet and Balloon," prefents a good example of Rowlandfon's broaa 
humour, and of his favourite models of the human face. We can afmolt 
fancy we hear the different tones of this brace of fnorers. 

A good example of Rowlandfon's grotefques of the human figure is 


486 Hijlory of Caricature and Grot efque 

given in our cut No. 232, taken from a print publifhed on the ift of 
January, 1796, under the title of "Anything will do for an Officer.' 
People complained of the mean appearance of the officers in oar armies, 
who obtained their rank, it was pretended, by favour and purchafe rather 

No. 232. A Model Officer. 

than by merit ; and this caricature is explained by an infcription beneath, 
which informs us how " Some fchool-boys, who were playing at foldiers, 
found one of their number fo ill-made, and fo much under fize, that he 
would have disfigured the whole body if put into the ranks. ' What 
fhall we do with him?' afked one. 'Do with him?' fays another, 
'why make an officer of him.' " This plate is infcribed with his name, 
" Rowlandfon fecit." 

\t this time Rowlandfon ftill continued to work for Fores, but before 
the end of the century we find him working for Ackermann, of the 
Strand, who continued to be his friend and employer during the reft of 
his life, and is faid to have helped him generoufly in many difficulties. 
In thefe, indeed, he was continually involved by his diffipation and 

though tlefTnefs. 

thoughtlefmefs. Ackermann not only employed him in etching the 
drawings of other caricaturiils, efpecially of Bunbury, but in furnifhing 
illuftrations to books, fuch as the feveral feries of Dr. Syntax, the ".New 
Dance of Death," and others. Rowlandfon's illuftrations to editions of 
the older ftandard novels, fuch as " Tom Jones," are remarkably clever. 
In transferring the works of other caricaturifts to the copper, Rowlandfon 
was in the habit of giving his own ftyle to them to fuch a degree, that 
nobody would fufpecl: that they were not his own, if the name of the 
defigner were not attached to them. I have given one example of this 
in a former chapter, and another very curious one is furnifhed by a print 
now before me, entitled "Anglers of 1811," which bears only the name 
" H. Bunbury del./' but which is in every particular a perfect example n* 7 

No. 233. Antiquaries at Work. 

the ftyle of Rowlandfon. During the latter part of his life Rowlandfon 
amufed himfelf with making an immenfe number of drawings which were 
never engraved, but many of which have been preferved and are ftill 
found fcattered through the portfolios of collectors. Thefe are generally 
better finifhed than his etchings, and are all more or lefs burlefque. Our 
cut No. 233 is taken from one of thefe drawings, in the poiTeflion of 


488 Hijtory of Caricature and Grotejque 

Mr. Fairholtj it reprefents a party of antiquaries engaged in important 
excavations. No doubt the figures were intended for well-known archae- 
ologifts of the day. 

Thomas Rowlandfon died in poverty, in lodgings in the Adelphi, on 
the 22nd of April, 1827. 

Among the moll a&ive caricaturifts of the beginning of the prefent 
century we mull not overlook Ifaac Cruikfhank, even if it were only 
becaufe the name has become fo celebrated in that of his more talented 
fon. Ifaac's caricatures, too, were equal to thofe of any of his contem- 
poraries, after Gillray and Rowlandfon. One of the earliefl examples 
which I have feen bearing the well-known initials, I. C, was publifhed 
on the 10th of March, 1794, the year in which George Cruikfhank was 
born, and probably, therefore, when Ifaac was quite a young man. It is 
entitled "A Republican Belle," and is an evident imitation of Gillray. 
In another, dated the ill of November, 179^, Pitt is reprefented as " The 
Royal Extinguifher," putting out the flame of " Sedition." Ifaac Cruik- 
fhank publifhed many prints anonymoufly, and among the numerous cari- 
catures of the latter end of the lafl century we meet with many which 
have no name attached to them, but which refemble fo exactly his known 
flyle, that we can hardly hefitate in afcribing them to him. It will be 
remarked that in his acknowledged works he caricatures the oppofition ; 
but perhaps, like other caricaturifts of his time, he worked privately for 
anybody who would pay him, and was as willing to work againft the 
government as for it, for moft of the prints which betray their author only 
by their flyle are caricatures on Pitt and his meafures. Such is the group 
given in our cut No. 234, which was publifhed on the 15th of Augufl, 
1797, at a time when there were loud complaints againft the burthen of 
taxation. It is entitled " Billy's Raree-Show ; or, John Bull E/z-lighten'd," 
and reprefents Pitt, in the character of a fhowman, exhibiting to John 
Bull, and picking his pocket while his attention is occupied with the 
fhow. Pitt, in a true fhowman's flyle, fays to his victim, " Now, pray 
lend your attention to the enchanting profpect. before you, — this is the 
profpe6t of peace — only obferve what a bufy fcene prefents itfelf — the 
ports are filled with fhipping, the quays loaded with merchandife, riches 

in Literature and Art. 


are tiowing in from every quarter — this profpec~l alone is worth all the 
money you have got about you." Accordingly, the fhowman abftra6ts 
the fame money from his pocket, while John Bull, unconfcious of the 
theft, exclaims with furprife, "Mayhap it may, mailer fhowman, but I 
canna zee ony thing like what you mentions, — I zees nothing out a 

No. 234. The Raree-Sho-TV. 

woide plain, with fome mountains and molehills upon't — as fure as a gun, 
it mull be all behoind one of thofe!" The flag of the lhow is infcribed. 
" Licenfed by authority, Billy Hum's grand exhibition of moving 
mechanifm 3 or, deception of the fenfes." 

In a caricature with the initials of I. C, and publilhed on the 20th of 
June, i797> Fox i s reprefented as "The Watchman of the State," 
ironically, of courfe, for he is betraying the trull which he had oftenta 
tioully allumed, and abfenting himfelf at the moment when his agents 
are putting the match to the train they have laid to blow up the conllitu- 

3 h tion 

490 Hijlory of Caricature and Grotefque 

tion. Yet Cruikihank's caricatures on the lrifh union were rather oppofed 
to minifters. One of thefe, publiihed on the 20th of June, 1800, is full 
of humour. It is entitled "A Flight acrofs the Herring Pond."' Eng- 
land and Ireland are feparated by a rough fea, over which a crowd of 
Irift " patriots " are flying, allured by the profpe6t of honours and rewards. 
On the lrifh fhore, a few wretched natives, with a baby and a dog, are in 
an attitude of prayer, expoftulating with the fugitives, — " Och, och ! do 
not-leave us — confider your old houfe, it will look like a big wallnut-fhell 
without a kernel." On the Englifh more, Pitt is holding open the 
" Imperial Poach," and welcoming them, — "Come on, my little fellows, 
there's plenty of room for you all — the budget is not half full." Infide 

No. 235. Flight acrofs the Herring Pond. 

the " pouch " appears a hoft of men covered with honours and dignities, 
one of whom fays to the foremoft of the lrifh candidates for favour, 
" Very fnug and convenient, brother, I affure you." Behind Pitt, Dundas, 
feated on a pile of public offices united in his perfon, calls out to the 
immigrants, "If you've ony confciences at a', here's enugh to fatisfy 
ye a'." A portion of this clever caricature is reprefented in our cut 
No. 235. 


in Literature and Art. 


There is a rare caricature on the fubject. of the Irifh union, which 
exhibits a little of the ftyle of Ifaac Cruikfhank, and a copy of which is 
in the poffeflion of Mr. Fairholt. From this I have taken merely the 
group which forms our cut No. 236. It is a long print, dated on the 
1 ft of January, 1800, and is entitled "The Triumphal entry of the Union 

No. 236. A Cafe of AbduBlon. 

into London." Pitt, with a paper entitled " Irifh Freedom " in his 
pocket, is carrying off the young lady (Ireland) by force, with her natural 
accompaniment, a keg of whiiky. The lord chancellor of Ireland (lord 
Clare) fits on the horfe and performs the part of fiddler. In advance of 
this group are a long rabble of radicals, Irifhmen, &c, while clofe behind 
comes Grattan, carried in a fedan-chair, and earneftly appealing to the 
lady, " Ierne, Ierne ! my fweet maid, liften not to him — he's a falfe, 
flattering, gay deceiver." Still farther in the rear follows St. Patrick, 
riding on a bull, with a fack of potatoes for his faddle, and playing on 
the Irifh harp. An Irifhman expostulates in the following words — " Ah, 
long life to your holy reverence's memory, why will you lave your own 
nate little kingdom, and go to another where they will tink no more of 
you then they would of an old biogue ? Shure, of all the faints in the 
red letter calendar, we give you the preference ! och hone ! och hone !" 


49 2 Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque 

Another Irifhman pulls the bull by the tail, with the lament, " Ah, 
maimer, honey, why will you be after leaving us ? What will become of 
poor Shelagh. and all of us, when you are gone ? " It is a regular Irifh 
cafe of abduction. 

The laft example I thall give of the caricatures of Ifaac Cruikfhank is 
the copy of one entitled "The Farthing Rufhlight," which, I need hardly 

No. 237. The Farthing Rujhlight. 

fay, is a parody on the fubje6t of a well-known fong. The rufhlight is 
the poor old king, George, whom the prince of Wales and his Whig 
aflbciates, Fox, Sheridan, and others, are labouring in vain to blow out. 
The lateft caricature I poifefs, bearing the initials of Ifaac Cruikfhank, 
was publilhed by Fores, on the 19th of April, 1810, and is entitled, " The 
Laft Grand Miniflerial Expedition (on the Street, Piccadilly)." The 
fubje6t is the riot on the arrell of fir Francis Burdeit, and it fhows that 
Cruikfhank was at this time caricaturing on the radical fide in politics. 

Ifaac Cruikfhank left two fons who became diflinguifhed as caricaturifts, 
George, already mentioned, and Robert. George Cruikfhank, who is 
ftill amongfl us, has raifed caricature in art to perhaps the higheft degree 
of excellence it has yet reached. He began as a political caricaturift, in 
imitation of his father Ifaac — in fact the two brothers are underftood to 


have worked jointly with their father before they engraved on their own 
account. 1 have in my own poffeffion two of his earlieft works of this 
clafs, publifhed by Fores, of Piccadilly, and dated refpe&ively the 3ra and 
the 19th of March, 18 15. George was then under twenty-one years of 
age. The firft of thefe prints is a caricature on the reftri&ions laid upon 
the trade in corn, and is entitled " The Bleflings of Peace, or, the Curie of 
the Corn Bill." A foreign boat has arrived, laden with corn at a low 
price — one of the foreign traders holds out a fample and fays, ." Here is 
de beft for 50s." A group of bloated ariftocrats and landholders ftand 
on the ihore, with a clofed ftorehoufe, filled with corn behind them ; the 
foremoft, warning the boat away with his hand, replies to the merchant, 
" We won't have it at any price — we are determined to keep up our own 
to 805., and if the poor can't bay at that price, why they muft ftarve. 
We love money too well to lower our rents again ; the income tax is 
taken off." One of his companions exclaims, " No, no, we won't have it 
at all." A third adds, "Ay, ay, let 'em ftarve, and be d — to 'em." 
Upon this another of the foreign merchants cries, " By gar, if they will 
not have it at all, we muft throw it overboard!" and a failor is carrying 
this alternative into execution by emptying a fack into the fea. Another 
group Hands near the clofed ftorehoufe — it confifts of a poor Englilhman, 
his wife with an infant in the arms, and two ragged children, a boy and 
a girl. The father is made to fay, " No, no, mafters, I'll not ftarve ; but 
quit my native country, where the poor are crufhed by thofe they labour 
to fupport, and retire to one more hofpitable, and where the arts of the 
rich do not interpofe to defeat the providence of God." The corn bill 
was palTed in the fpring of 1815, and was the caufe of much popular 
agitation and rioting. The fecond of thefe caricatures, on the fame 
fubjed, is entitled, "The Scale of Juftice reverfed," and reprefents the 
rich exulting over the difappearance of the tax on property, wdiile the 
poor are crufhed under the weight of taxes which bore only upon them. 
Thefe two caricatures prefent unmiftakable traces of the peculiarities of 
ftyle of George Cruikfhank, but not as yet fully developed. 

George Cruikfhank rofe into great celebrity and popularity as a 
political caricaturift by his illuftrations to the pamphlets of William Hone, 


494 Hijiory of Caricature and Grotefque. 

fuch as "The Political Houfe that Jack built," "The Political Showman 
at Home/' and others upon the trial of queen Caroline} but this fort of 
work fuited the tafte of the public at that time, and not that of the artift, 
which lay in another direction. The ambition of George Cruikfhank was 
to draw what Hogarth called moral comedies, pictures of fociety cairied 
through a feries of a6ts and fcenes, always pointed with fome great moral ; 
and it muft be confeffed that he has, through a long career, fucceeded 
admirably. He poflerTes more of the true fpirit of Hogarth than any 
other artift fince Hogarth's time, with greater ikill in drawing. He 
pofTeffes, even to a greater degree than Hogarth himfelf, that admirable 
talent of filling a picture with an immenfe number of figures, every one 
telling a part of the ftory, without which, however minute, the whole 
picture would feem to us incomplete. The picture of the " Camp at 
Vinegar Hill," and one or two other illuftrations to Maxwell's " Hiftory 
of the Irifh Rebellion in 1798," are equal, if not fuperior, to anything 
ever produced by Hogarth or by Callot. 

The name of George Cruikfhank forms a worthy conclufion to the 
" Hiftory of Caricature and Grotefque." He is the lafl reprefentative of 
the great fchool of caricaturifb formed during the reign of George III. 
Though there can hardly be faid to be a fchool at the prefent day, yet 
our modern artifls in this field have been all formed more or lefs under 
his influence ; and it muft not be forgotten that we owe to that 
influence, and to his example, to a great degree, the cleanfing of this 
branch of art from the objectionable chara&eri flics of which I have on 
more than one occafion been obliged to fpeak. May he ftill live long 
among the friends who not only admire him for his talents, but love 
him for his kindly and genial fpirit} and none among them love and 
admire him more fincerely than the author of the prefent volume. 







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